Erin Johnson and her son Devon are Vancouver Canucks fans. So they weren’t exactly thrilled when the Boston Bruins beat their team in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
But that didn’t keep the Johnsons from being first in line Wednesday when the Stanley Cup made a stop at Mountain View Ice Arena.
Did you know?
The Stanley Cup dates to 1893, and has been awarded to the National Hockey League champion since 1926. Wednesday was believed to be the first time the trophy has been to Vancouver, Wash.
Mountain View Ice Arena general manager Bob Knoerl said his early estimate was that at least 500 people were photographed with the Cup at the rink.
Mountain View Ice Arena charged $10 for photographs with the Cup. It will use the money to start a youth hockey program at the rink. Knoerl said he will soon post the photos on the Facebook page for Mountain View Ice Arena.
“We were bummed when the Bruins won the Cup,” 13-year-old Devon said.
“Ironically,” Erin Johnson said, “this worked out better for us.”
It worked out for the Johnsons and an estimated 500 — perhaps more — area hockey fans because Boston Bruins scout Tom McVie has lived in Vancouver USA for more than two decades.
He has had a home in the Portland area since he played from 1961-66 for the Portland Buckaroos of the old Western Hockey League.
Wednesday was McVie’s day with the Cup, and he spent much of the day sharing it with hockey fans in the region.
The Johnsons, who live in Vancouver, were the first of a stream of fans who paid $10 to get their photo taken with the most historic trophy in North American professional sports.
The money will be used to help start a new youth hockey program at Mountain View Ice Arena, said Bob Knoerl, the rink’s general manager.
“Isn’t this just awesome?” McVie said as he watched fans took their turns posing with and touching the Cup.
Jason Provenzano certainly thought so. The 39-year-old lifelong Bruins fan grew up in Boston and relocated to Vancouver from the Midwest this summer. Wednesday was his first chance to see the Cup.
“Who would’ve thought I’d see it just after moving out here?” said Provenzano, who was clad in a Bruins jersey and was there with sons Charlie, Drew, Jake and Sam. “I knew someday I’d see it, but the fact that it’s in the Bruins possession now makes it even better.”
Bruins supporters were well represented among the fans who showed up at Mountain View Ice Arena, and earlier in the day at a downtown Portland event hosted by the Portland Winterhawks in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
But fans wore jerseys of many teams — including the vanquished Canucks. Many posed touching the Cup. Some posed alongside McVie. Several babies and pets were placed inside the Cup.
None of it fazed Walter Neubrand, the keeper of the Stanley Cup for this journey. The only restriction: Don’t pick up the Cup.
A sixth-grade teacher, Neubrand has been one of the Stanley Cup chaperones for 14 years. He said Wednesday’s crowds in Vancouver and Portland were typical for a well-publicized appearance.
Yes, Neubrand wears white gloves when handling the 35-pound trophy at public events — by order of his boss.
He said the trophy stays in his hotel room on the road, unless he is staying with the person whose day it is to have the Cup.
Wednesday was McVie’s day — his first after 55 years in professional hockey as a player, coach and scout.
It started with a 6 a.m. appearance on Portland television, followed by several radio shows and another TV appearance before arriving at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
From 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., McVie stood smiling next to the Cup for photos with fans. A photographer for the Portland Winterhawks shot 684 frames, which will be available at www.Winterhawks.com.
McVie and the Cup made one more radio stop and a visit to a friend’s carpet store. The trophy arrived at Mountain View Ice Arena at 4:15 p.m., 45 minutes behind schedule.
By then, the Johnsons — at the front of the line— had been at the rink for almost four hours. The line of people waiting to see the Stanley Cup ran the length of the rink’s upper floor, down the stairs, outside and around to the back of the building.
The Cup stayed at the rink until 6 p.m., an hour later than planned, before McVie took it to a couple of private celebrations.
“The people of Vancouver and Portland have been so good to the McVie family over the years, I really want to share this with all of them,” McVie said.
McVie said he was enjoying the day, but was unhappy about disappointing people who weren’t in line early enough to get their moment with the Cup.
Neubrand, an old pro at Stanley Cup events, carried the Cup through the line of remaining people as it departed the rink, giving those patient fans at least a quick up-close look at the trophy.
At Mountain View Ice Arena, some people asked McVie to join them in their photograph. Many took time to personally thank McVie for sharing the trophy with them, if only for a few moments.
“The highlight of the day was seeing all the people enjoy the Cup,” McVie said.
For more photos from Wednesday's event, click here.