'Once in a lifetime': Lashburn, Sask., celebrates Braden Holtby's Stanley Cup visit
Washington Capitals goalie brought cup back to where he got his start
An NHL champion who got his start in Saskatchewan used his 24 hours with the Stanley Cup to pay homage to his hockey roots.
Braden Holtby, a goalie with the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals, decided to bring the cup to the town of Lashburn, Sask. — about 225 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon — where he started playing hockey as a kid.
He paid special attention to younger players during Tuesday's visit, spending one hour exclusively with players from Lashburn Minor Hockey before shaking hands with thousands of hockey fans.
"It was really amazing," said Danelle Covey, whose son met with Holtby. "You couldn't get the smile off his face. He just couldn't believe that the guy from TV was really standing in front of him."
Once he finished with the kids, Holtby spent hours taking pictures with around 6,000 people who had travelled from across the province to get a glimpse of the cup.
"It was a once in a lifetime experience, especially in a small town like that," said organizer Russell Schemenauer. "It was pretty exciting."
Holtby's family has a farm near Marshall, just a few minutes away from Lashburn.
"They're just a very humble, down to earth family," said Schemenauer. "Just so easy-going. It made it that much more enjoyable."
Holtby took the cup to the family farm as well as Lloydminster, before handing it off to the next teammate on the list.
Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson plans to bring the cup to Humboldt, Sask., on Aug. 24.
With files from CBC Radio's Blue Sky