WINNIPEG — The captain of the NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks is bringing a very special visitor home to meet his fans — Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Jonathan Toews is bringing the cup to his hometown of Winnipeg for a public celebration before gathering privately with his family.
Hundreds of fans lined up Friday afternoon to meet Toews — and the cup — Friday afternoon at a community centre named after the National Hockey League player.
Chris Guimond came from Sagkeeng First Nation with his two sons, six-year-old Sabastien and nine-year-old Felix.
“It means a lot to me to see him again,” said Guimond, who met Toews in 2010. “I just wanted the boys to recognize who he is and the kind of hard work he does on the ice.”
Clutching an inflatable Stanley Cup with a Toews rookie card in his pocket, Guimond said he just wanted to say congratulations to Toews.
“Two cups in four years is awesome,” he said.
The Blackhawks won hockey’s highest honour last month in a dramatic sixth game victory over the Boston Bruins.
Toews scored a goal in the nail-biting 3-2 triumph.
He last brought the cup home when the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup champions in 2010.
Erin Fowle, 22, missed him during that last visit and was determined not to make that mistake again.
She arrived four hours before the cup to snag a place in line. Her birthday was the day after game six. As the Blackhawks trailed, Fowle wished for Toews to win the cup.
A few seconds later, the Blackhawks tied it up.
“I was so happy. It was the best birthday present possible,” she said. “He deserves it. He’s just fantastic”
Barry Catt, president of the Jonathan Toews Community Centre, said they only had a few days to prepare for their important visitors.
“It’s very exciting,” he said as hundreds lined up in the centre’s parking lot.
“Every little boy in Canada dreams of scoring the winning goal for the Stanley Cup final. Next week I turn 60 and I still think I’m going to score that goal. So yeah, it’s a big deal.”