British Columbia

Stanley Cup gets to Smithers, B.C., with a little help from fans

The Stanley Cup has been on show in Smithers, B.C., today, but the famed trophy nearly didn't make it on the flight until passengers stepped up to create some space.

The iconic trophy wouldn't fit on the plane until some luggage was removed

Former Philadelphia Flyers player Joe Watson poses with the Stanley Cup in his hometown of Smithers, B.C. Watson won the cup with the Flyers in 1974 and 1975. (Kent Delwisch)

The Stanley Cup has been on show in Smithers, B.C., today, but the famed trophy nearly didn't make it on the flight until passengers stepped up to create some space.

Philip Pritchard is the Stanley Cup handler with the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, where the cup is kept when it's not on tour. He accompanies the prized trophy everywhere it goes.

Pritchard was travelling with Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, when the Dash 8 airline crew said they weren't sure if the plane could fit the nearly two-metre-tall case holding the cup.

That's when passengers stepped up.

Making room for the cup

"The plane collectively decided that some bags could get bumped to make sure the cup got here," Cullen said. "A few bags didn't make it, but the cup did."

Cullen said he talked to a few of the passengers after the fact, and there were no hard feelings.

As for the cup?

People in Smithers, population 5,000, were lining up two hours before it arrived.

Kent Delwisch, chairman of the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament, arranged to have the cup visit Smithers as part of a lead-up to the August event. 

Joe Watson, the former Philadelphia Flyers player who grew up in Smithers, won the Stanley Cup back to back with the Flyers in 1974 and 1975, but the trophy never made it to the town.

Today he was on hand to sign autographs at the arena, where people lined up all day to see the cup.

"We're really fortunate to have it here," Delwisch said.

The cup goes to Prince George briefly on Wednesday before returning to Toronto.

With files from Farrah Merali

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