Canada

Hometown hero Brett Howden brings Stanley Cup to Oakbank, Man.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Oakbank, Man., Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse — some of even a quick touch — of hockey’s top prize, the Stanley Cup. 

Oakbank’s Brett Howden had his coveted day with the cup and was flanked by family, friends and fans as he made his way through a parade route starting at the corner of Springfield Road and Main Street and culminating at the One Insurance Arena.

Cheers filled the air, along with the horns of fire trucks and young kids who screamed they’d never wash their hands again after touching the Stanley Cup. 

“It’s pretty special,” Brett said while sitting on the back of a red vintage Ford Mustang. “As soon as we had the word we were getting a day with the cup, I knew it was coming back here, sharing it with all of our family and friends and the town that has supported me the whole time.” 

Brett is one of a handful of people with Manitoba roots in the Las Vegas Golden Knights organization, and was one of four players from the province who suited up for the team’s Stanley Cup clinching contest back in June.

The Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 13 to secure the franchise’s first-ever league championship. 

And even the looming threat of poor weather, which eventually subsided in favour of the sun, couldn’t rain on Oakbank’s parade. 

“It’s a great day no matter what,” said Brett. “We’re very fortunate, very lucky to have this opportunity.” 

A man in a red car with a trophy
Brett Howden rides through Oakbank with the Stanley Cup. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

For the kids  

Rowan Siguridson was one of many kids in the crowd who waited in line to get a photo with Brett after the parade ended. 

The 12-year-old said getting up close and personal with the trophy and seeing someone from the province bring the it back to the community could act as motivation in his young hockey career. 

“Pretty cool knowing that Manitobans play in the NHL, that it’s possible to play in the NHL,” said Sigurdson. 

A man in a hockey jersey
Rowan Sigurdson, 12, was inspired by meeting Howden and seeing the Stanley Cup. (Walther Bernal/CBC )

Other community members in Oakbank also pointed to the significance of having the cup in town Sunday. 

“All the little kids are going to see the cup, they’re gonna go ‘Wow, someone from my town, someone from the arena I play in is in the NHL and actually won a Stanley Cup,'” said Brad Bailey. “It’s a great moment for Oakbank, it’s a great moment for the Howden family, I’m so happy for them.” 

Brett’s father Sheldon said there was never a doubt his son would bring the trophy to Oakbank. He added the biggest thing for Brett was to share the day with all the young children. 

“You just got to keep playing, keep working you and [if] love the sport, you never know where it will go,” Sheldon said. 

Sheldon couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face Sunday, looking on at the crowd of people patiently waiting to get a photo with Brett and the Stanley Cup. He also said Brett being the first person to bring the Stanley Cup to Oakbank was something he couldn’t put into words. 

“I just can’t believe the support, I can’t believe that this many people would come for this, but it’s amazing,” he said. 

As for Brett, the freshly-crowned Stanley Cup Champion celebrated the realization of a dream Sunday — one shared by the sea of community members eager to touch the trophy and congratulate him as he walked through the gravel road and to the arena. 

“I’ve dreamt of this a really long time and for it to actually be happening right now, it’s really exciting,” said Brett. 

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