NHL’s Nicolas Hague brings inspiration home to hundreds of fans in Kitchener

NHL star Nicolas Hague of the Vegas Golden Knights brought the Stanley Cup, and a dose of inspiration, to the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener Sunday following his team’s championship win.

Hundreds of fans waited in lines that wound across the Sportsplex’s grounds — some for hours — to meet Hague and see the Stanley Cup close-up. That includes Chris Gilbey, who was there for more than four hours to score a place at the very front of the line.

A line of people waiting to see Nicolas Hague.
Hundreds of people lined up to meet Kitchener born NHL star, Nicolas Hague, and catch a glimpse of the Stanley Cup. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Gilbey believes that having an NHL champion from Kitchener means something to local players, dubbing him a “mentor.” 

Hague, who was drafted to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017, was born in the city. 

“It means kids now will follow him,” Gilbey said, mentioning her grandchildren. ”They could do anything they want,” she said.

Hockey fan, Nicolas Hague, at the very front of a very long line up.
Fan, Chris Gilbey (right), waited hours for the opportunity to meet Nicolas Hague on Sunday, and see the Stanley Cup. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Landon Perrin, a young hockey player from Kitchener, waited for over two hours to meet Hague and see the cup. When asked what it means to him as a hockey player to see another player from his city win the Stanley Cup, he said, “It feels good.” 

A long line up of people at the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener.
Lines of hockey fans weaved through the grounds of the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener. (James Chaarani/CBC)

‘Pretty inspirational’

Stephen Bebber of Kitchener was near the end of the line. Despite that, he thought it’d be worth it.  

“It’s a piece of Canadian history,” he said. “So, I get a chance to come out here and see it. Hopefully I get a picture with the cup.”

“Having kids that are playing on the local rep team and coming here and seeing a Kitchener player actually make it to that level is pretty inspirational.”

Hockey fan Stephen Bebber posing for a photo at the end of the line.
Hockey fan Stephen Bebber was near the very end of the line on Sunday. (James Chaarani/CBC)

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, who was also in attendance, believed too that Hague’s accomplishment will inspire young athletes.

“I think what it is, is it’s a mark of importance for young kids because it really allows them to both dream big but also know that if you work hard and you have some passion and determination — and yeah, maybe a little bit of luck as well, right? — but that your dreams can come true,” he said. 

Hundreds of people at the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener on Sunday.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener on Sunday. (James Chaarani/CBC)

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