The oldest trophy in North American professional sports made its way through some of the oldest streets in North America on Monday as part of the official celebration for Alex Newhook’s Stanley Cup win this spring.
Newhook, from St. John’s, helped the Colorado Avalanche claim hockey’s top prize this year in what will be a rememberable rookie season for the 21-year-old.
Thousands lined the streets, many wearing Avalanche burgundy, to see the cup up close for the first time since Michael Ryder of Bonavista brought the trophy home after the Boston Bruins won in 2011.
The parade began at Bannerman Park, where Newhook signed posters, hockey cards, jerseys and more from the back of a truck.
Local hockey teams, businesses and a marching band joined the parade as it made its way down Military Road, Duckworth Street and Water Street before stopping for a ceremony at the George Street Stage.
Newhook called the event “surreal.”
“I’ve worked for it, I’ve dreamt for this a long time, so it means a lot,” he told reporters.
The event drew thousands of fans and featured speeches from politicians, including Premier Andrew Furey, but Newhook said the most special part of the day was seeing his grandparents ride in the parade.
“Those two have meant a lot to me and have done so much for me so it’s cool to see them enjoy it,” he said.
Alex’s family rode in the float alongside him. Paula Newhook, Alex’s mother, said she couldn’t be more proud.
“There are tears in our eyes, honestly. Alex is so happy,” she said.
Cheers also erupted for Newhook’s sister, Abby, another successful hockey player.
“I could never have expected that,” Abby said.
For Charlie Warren, an 11-year-old hockey player from St. John’s, it was a big day.
“Whenever I think that a Newfoundlander can get into the NHL, it makes me believe that I can get into the NHL,” Charlie said while waiting for Stanley’s mug to arrive at George Street, its final stop of the parade.
Andrew Kavanagh was thrilled to see the Stanley Cup in St. John’s.
“It was amazing. I never thought I’d see it in real life,” he said. “[Seeing it in] the Hockey Hall of Fame is something. Here is a lot different because you know someone from your home town won it.”
Another young hockey player, Isaac Power, was determined to get his hockey card signed — he got up on an adult’s shoulders to reach Newhook.
“I’m very excited,” he said.
Newhook said he was especially happy to see his younger fans show up for the parade.
“I remember when Michael Ryder brought it home, and Danny Cleary, and looking up to those guys when I was your guys’ age,” he said. “I’m really happy I can share this with you guys.”
His message to any aspiring NHL players: “Keep dreaming,” he said. “Anything’s possible.”
Bringing it home
Newhook said the Stanley Cup’s day in St. John’s would include several stops around the city — and a feed of fish and chips.
Jan and Robin Hickey, both hockey fans, were overjoyed to see Newhook bring the Stanley Cup home to St. John’s.
“Oh my god, we’re so proud of him,” said Jan.
Newhook is the NHL third player from Newfoundland and Labrador to be part of a winning team; Jan said that fact Newhook is just the third player from Newfoundland and Labrador to made the win extra exciting.
“It’s just so emotional,” Jan said.
St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen also joined Newhook onstage.
“The goose bumps will last me until next season,” said Breen, who noted Newhook is the first “townie” — the name for someone from the St. John’s area — hockey player to win the Stanley Cup.
Breen announced the city is partnering with the Avalon Celtics, the hockey association which Newhook was a part of as a young hockey player, to place a mural of Newhook on the side of the D.F. Barnes Arena.
“You Newhooks are an absolute hockey powerhouse,” he said.