Nova Scotia

Marchand gets hero's homecoming in Halifax

Boston Bruin Brad Marchand got a hero's welcome Monday as he paraded through the streets of downtown Halifax accompanied by hockey's most-coveted prize.
Boston Bruin rookie Brad Marchand was greeted by thousands of cheering fans as he paraded the Stanley Cup through downtown Halifax Monday. (CBC)
Boston Bruin Brad Marchand got a hero's welcome Monday as he paraded through the streets of downtown Halifax accompanied by hockey's most-coveted prize.

Thousands of fans, many wearing the Bruins' black and yellow, lined the parade route to congratulate the NHL rookie, who hails from Hammonds Plains, N.S.

Among those in the parade were 15 of Marchand's first cousins, crowded into a truck. Some had travelled from New Brunswick.

As Marchand's entourage made its way into Parade Square, many fans snapped photos, some got autographs.

Mayor Peter Kelly declared Aug. 29 Brad Marchand day in front of the hundreds gathered.

"This is awesome. I didn't expect it at all. You guys are amazing," Marchand told cheering fans.

Marchand took the opportunity to honour one of his mentors, the late Donnie Matheson, whose wife accepted some memorabilia on her husband's behalf. Matheson, an NHL scout with the Boston Bruins and director of recruiting for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats, has been credited with helping launch Marchand's professional career.

When asked on stage what he'd done with the cup so far, Marchand told Hockey Night in Canada's P.J. Stock he'd eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal out of it earlier in the morning.

Small towns, big dreams

Thousands of fans, many wearing the Bruins black and yellow, gathered in Parade Square to cheer on Marchand, who hails from Tantallon, N.S.
Marchand then took the cup to St. Margaret's Centre, where he played minor hockey as a youth.

Sixty-three winners of a radio contest, amounting to the sum of Marchand's number, lined up to get their pictures taken with the hockey star.

Once again, Marchand took time to recognize one of his former coaches, J.P. MacCallum. Since coaching him in bantam as a 14-year-old, McCollum has worked with Marchand every off-season for the past 10 years on strength training.

"It's nice to see it finally come to this. All that hard work paid off with the Stanley Cup," said McCollum.

A giant poster of Marchand, lifting the cup, was unveiled in the arena under the caption 'Small towns, big dreams.'

MacCallum said it was a nice touch. "That's something kids can always look at. They know it can be done."

Up until 4 p.m. when it was time to leave, Marchand was still bending down to let some of the younger kids get a chance to touch the cup, which was whisked away to spend some quality time with Marchand and his family.

The cup will fly to Newfoundland Tuesday morning where Michael Ryder will take it to his hometown of Bonavista.

Prince Edward Islander Adam McQuaid had the cup in his home province Sunday and with winds from Tropical Storm Irene threatening to close the Confederation Bridge and keep the cup on the Island, the Marchands made a special trip, renting a limo bus to ensure it arrived in Halifax for the parade.

The big question now for some fans is whether Marchand will be returning to the Bruins this fall. He said Monday he's confident a contract will be worked out over the next few weeks.