TAMPA – The Stanley Cup is finally back in Tampa.
The NHL’s championship trophy ended Wednesday’s world tour after stopping to see Lightning’s Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Pat Maroon.
For Hedman, the visit was increasingly sweet because he could finally share the cup with friends and family at home in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. And since Lightning won back-to-back championships, he was also able to celebrate with the Conn Smythe Trophy, having won the 2020 MVP playoffs.
The night Hedman was reunited with the cup, he celebrated with the family at home and drank gin from a world-leading, Swedish-based distillery called Herno and tonic out of the cup.
Hedman started the next day on the Gold Coast. The Stanley Cup has been on the street where he lives four times, and he is the third person to have it at his home. World Championships and Olympic medalists also live on the streets.
“I think more than anything he wanted to take it home not only for himself, but for everyone else who helped him along the way,” said Phil Pritchard, Cup Keeper who accompanied it to Sweden.
Hedman later took the cup to the center so that he could recreate his own childhood memory. At the age of 6, he saw the cup for the first time when Peter Forsberg took it to Ornskoldsvik after winning the championship in 1996 with Avalanche.
“He wanted to take it there, because it was the first place he saw it and that fulfilled his dream,” Pritchard said. “He hopes he will inspire a bunch of other kids going forward.”
In addition to a key to the city – which Hedman received the week before he received the cup – the Lightning defender also received a brick of local fame, Pritchard said.
After spending some time downtown, Hedman and his family returned home and took some pictures of the water with the cup. And of course, his French bulldog, Harry, was in the middle of most of the afternoon.
That night, Hedman hosted a “beautiful” reception with family and close friends. He ate Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and loganberries from the cup bowl and continued a trend with players eating from the cup that has been popular during the low season.
“(Hedman) said it was perfect,” Pritchard said. “” For the family, his mother and father were so proud. His two brothers were also there. I think it was pretty special for all of them. ”
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