We sure must love the game of hockey.
That may explain why close to 800 hockey fans jammed into the C and C on a sunny, hot, +34 degree summer day to watch hockey.
The Kelowna Rockets alumni hockey game once again saw a tremendous turnout of both former and current players, as the White team beat the Black team 9-7. It was more than just about the score though, as Rockets fans were there to see and reminisce with the players who have brought them so many smiles over the years.
Two former Rockets alumni at the game Sunday afternoon (but were not playing) were Scott Hannan and Travis Moen.
Moen was drawing the majority of the attention after winning a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks last month.
I even had a couple of minutes to chat with him, about living out a childhood dream of drinking out of Lord Stanley's mug.
"It's pretty unbelievable to win the Stanley Cup. I've been working 25 years to win it, so it's a dream come true. I don't know if it has really sunk in yet? I think when I bring the cup home to my hometown (Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan) and share it with everybody, then it will really sink in a bit".
What has the last month been like for you, with so many people congratulating you on winning the cup?
"Ya, especially since I live in a small town, lots of people have come up to me to shake my hand and have just wanted to ask me how it feels. It's been fun though. I enjoy getting out there and talking to the people. It's been a busy summer, and it's probably going to get busier".
Along the ride to the Stanley Cup, when did it hit you that, hey my name could be etched on the cup forever?
"I think winning that last game against Detroit, and the realization that we were going to the Stanley Cup finals really hit me then. To play in the series, and play so well because our team was so tight, I think that was the biggest thing about our team and why we had success."
Do you see yourself as an example to other players, junior players like a James McEwan, that if you work hard and contribute in other ways then on the scoreboard, you can be a Stanley Cup champion?
"I was never blessed with an abundance of skills, and I've always had to work hard to get where I am. It's been a long process along the way, and at times it's been a grind but it just shows that if you want something bad enough, and you work hard enough to get it, it can happen".
Moen told me he had just four tickets he could use for family and friends for the Stanley Cup finals. Travis had the pleasure of having his Mom, brother and sister take in a couple of games down in Anaheim. Father-in-law Lorne Frey elected to let Travis' immediate family enjoy the experience, as he watched his son-in law win the cup on television.
It was interesting to hear that Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton offered to purchase Lorne and his wife Jan flights down to the finals, even though they couldn't be in the arena to enjoy the festivities.
I had a chance to reminisce with so many players at Sunday's game, I'll share those thoughts on a blog posting tomorrow.
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