America’s Vancouver will never be the same.
Hundreds of hockey fans from both sides of the Columbia River, including Camas and Washougal, ventured to the Mountain View Ice Arena Wednesday to hug and kiss the Stanley Cup. The line to see the trophy started forming at 12:30 p.m. In just a few short hours, it stretched from the viewing area above the ice rink, down the stairs, out of the door, and wrapped around the back of the building.
“This is quite an opportunity we know not a lot people get to have,” said Mountain View Ice Arena General Manager Bob Knoerl. “You don’t say ‘no’ to the Stanley Cup. It’s one of the most well-travelled and respected trophies in the world of professional sports.”
The one man who spearheaded this gathering was Vancouver resident Tom McVie, a scout for the 2011 National Hockey League Champion Boston Bruins. On June 15, McVie’s lifelong dream of pursuing a Stanley Cup came true when the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in the decisive seventh game of the NHL finals.
For his one day to carry the Cup, McVie brought it home to share with as many family members, friends and rabid followers as possible.
Erin Johnson and her son Devon were the first guests to arrive. They admitted to being longtime Canadian hockey fans who cheered for the Canucks. Obviously, they also wanted to see the Stanley Cup up close.
“Ironically, this worked out better for us,” Erin said. “We brought chairs, a bag of books and some snacks, and we’re ready to hang out.”
Next in line was Jason Provenzano and his sons Charlie, Drew, Jake and Sam. All of them were properly dressed for the occasion in Bruins’ jerseys.
“I didn’t find out the Stanley Cup was going to be here until today,” Provenzano said. “As a lifelong Bruins fan who grew up in Boston and played hockey, there was no way I was going to miss seeing it.”
From 4:15 to 6 p.m., people funneled through the building at a rapid pace. Although they only had a few moments to touch the Cup, McVie hopes the memory lasts forever.
“The only thing you hope for is more time,” he said. “You only get 24 hours with the Cup.”
In return, many of the guests thanked McVie for sharing such a treasure. McVie also posed for pictures with the fans by the Cup, and signed autographs.
At 6 p.m., the line had to be roped off but there were still plenty of bystanders hoping to get a closer look at the Stanley Cup. Instead of just sneaking out the back door, chaperone Walter Neubrand carried the 35-pound trophy through the crowd, down the stairs and out the front door to where the van was parked.
It was a fitting tribute for a day hockey fans in America’s Vancouver will never forget.