Manitoba

Hockey hero Joel Edmundson brings Stanley Cup home to Brandon

The Stanley Cup will touch down in Brandon, Man. on Monday.

Organizers anticipate 2,000 to 5,000 people at meet-and-greet event

St. Louis Blues players celebrate with the Stanley Cup in the locker room after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Boston. From left: Brayden Schenn, Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson, Robert Bortuzzo and Vladimir Tarasenko. (Dave Sandford/Pool via the Associated Press)

Excitement is building in Brandon, Man., as hockey fans await the arrival of hockey's greatest prize and a chance to congratulate hometown boy and St. Louis Blues defenceman Joel Edmundson in person. 

A meet-and-greet celebration with Edmundson — and the Stanley Cup — is scheduled for Monday afternoon. 

"It's something that doesn't happen very often in Brandon.... Back in the day, the [cup] never travelled, so it's been a long time. We're excited to have the opportunity to share with the public," said Bob Edmundson, Joel's father.

The St. Louis Blues made a historic turnaround this past season, going from the worst team in the league to eventually winning the Stanley Cup in Boston in June, defeating the Bruins 4-1 in Game 7.

Throughout the playoffs, Bob and Lois Edmundson logged thousands of miles while following their son on his journey to becoming a champion.

Now the Edmundsons want to share the victory with their friends and family who showed support for Joel throughout the course of the playoffs.

"The were absolutely ecstatic, the attention he got through the playoffs ... I think I had about 200 messages, Joel had well over a thousand messages," said Edmundson.

The 26-year-old hoisted his first Stanley Cup as his parents looked on from the stands at TD Garden in Boston on June 12.

Bob and Lois Edmundson don their St. Louis Blues jerseys to support their son Joel, who plays defence for the team. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

"As parents you sort of hope their dreams come true and I think that it really hit me when after he raised the cup," said Edmundson.

While nearly a month has passed, Edmundson still feels lucky that he and his wife were there to share that moment with their son. 

"We were still watching from the stands and he came toward us and put his hands in the air," said Edmundson.

"I still get really emotional about it because for sure he knows exactly where we're sitting, and it doesn't matter how old they are, they're still playing for you and they want to see you in the crowd."

In Brandon, the Stanley Cup meet-and-greet event is expected to attract between 2,000 and 5,000 fans. 

"It's been decades since we've had the cup come to a public event," said Krista Kowaluk, marketing and sponsor manager at Keystone Centre, where the event is being hosted. "It's just a huge opportunity to celebrate here on Monday."

Despite playing on the team that eliminated the Winnipeg Jets, fans kept a close eye on Joel Edmundson throughout the playoffs.

"We've all been following Joel's career and have been excited and following him through the championship, hoping that we'd get a chance to have the cup visit Brandon again," he said.

Kowaluk is curious to see what items fans will pull out when it's their turn to have a photo taken with the cup. 

"It's always interesting to see what people will put in the cup.... I mean, who knows who's going to set their baby inside there."

Lines are expected to be long from the start. The meet and greet runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Kowaluk said the Edmundson family is hoping fans will take photos in groups or with their friends rather than individually, to give more people a chance to see the trophy and "have their opportunity just to have their few minutes with with Joel and the cup."

With files from Tyler Crivea and Alana Cole

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