Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 11

Kyle Quincey enjoys cereal out of the best tasting bowl in hockey. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
It is astonishing how many National Hockey League players are culled from the grassroots hockey programs of small communities. In today's Stanley Cup Journal, we visit two smaller Ontario communities in order to celebrate Detroit's Stanley Cup win with Kyle Quincey and Aaron Downey.

Prior to the 2007-08 season, Kyle Quincey had played 7 NHL games over two seasons with the Red Wings. In February 2008, he added 6 more. When Kyle had the opportunity to celebrate with hockey's greatest trophy, he decided to take it to the Caledon, Ontario home of his parents, Marty and Debbie.

The Stanley Cup arrived at the Quincey home at 7:45AM on Saturday, June 28. There waiting were family and friends. "Just in time for breakfast," declared Kyle, and the bowl of the Cup was filled with multi-grain cereal and milk. Debbie Quincey, Kyle's Mom, smiled. "At 15, Kyle made a serious commitment to diet and nutrition, to exercise and training." The commitment certainly paid off!

At the Alder Street Recreation Centre, hundreds of young hockey players arrived to welcome Quincey and the Stanley Cup. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
The Cup was packed and taken to nearby Devil's Pulpit, an awesome private golf course perched stunningly on the Niagara Escarpment. The first hole, a 478-yard par four, (usually) affords a sensational panoramic view of Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto from an elevated tee. Unfortunately, by the time Kyle arrived, it was pouring and the view was obscured by ribbons of rain and clouds. Instead, Kyle grabbed the Cup and ducked into the clubhouse, where some of his friends and family were celebrating.

Kyle's love for hockey was nurtured in the Orangeville Minor Hockey Association, and when he was told he had the Cup to do with as he wished, he decided to take it back to where his career began. By 9:00AM, Quincey and the Cup arrived at the Alder Street Recreation Centre, where 400 young hockey players and their parents waited to see a local role model having realized hockey's ultimate dream.

Quincey hoists the Stanley Cup atop the Niagara Escarpment in Southern Ontario. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
As Kyle looked around the rink, he noted that everywhere a number was posted, it was his number 4. "Look, even the score clock," he laughed, noting that the score was 4-4, with 4:44 remaining.

In a brief ceremony, Mayor Rob Adams thanked Kyle for returning to his roots, and with the approval of an arena full of fans, declared June 28, 2008 'Kyle Quincey Day' in Orangeville. In return, Kyle thanked the community for its continued support, and vowed that everyone in attendance could have a photo with the Cup. The roar almost shook the roof from the centre. Autographed photos of Kyle hoisting the Stanley Cup on the ice after the Wings' win were available for $10, with all proceeds going to the Orangeville Minor Hockey Association. Standing on the blueline with the Cup on a table beside him, Quincey smiled as photo after photo was taken.

With the weather having cleared, Kyle considered returning to the golf course to get his desired photo, but instead, decided to go to a spot on a nearby sideroad that gave a similar view of Toronto in the distance. Then, it was back to his parents' house. After a quick lunch of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, the Quinceys welcomed guests to a Stanley Cup celebration. Almost 200 people showed up and got the chance to congratulate Kyle and see the trophy. Although the Cup had to leave Caledon at 3:00 that afternoon, the party continued on without the Cup until the wee hours of the next morning.

* * *

Aaron Downey and a group of his friends pose in front of the potato fields in Melancthon Township, Ontario.
(Bill Wellman/HHOF)

Aaron Downey was so afraid that the Stanley Cup wouldn't find the family home in Melancthon Township, Ontario on June 29th that he sent a friend to meet the trophy and guide it to the Downey home.

Melancthon Township is north of Orangeville on Highway 10, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) from Toronto. Aaron needn't have been concerned about missing out on the Stanley Cup — it arrived at 8:30AM, half an hour earlier than expected.

The growing of potatoes is the principal occupation in Melancthon Township, and immediately upon arrival, Aaron and 200 friends and family insisted on getting a photograph of the group with the Stanley Cup, posed in front of the potato fields.

Downey, who led the Red Wings in penalty minutes in 2007-08, has played for six NHL squads during his eight NHL seasons. As he was taking the Stanley Cup to his training facility, he joked, "Yeah, I've been a bit of a suitcase the last few years." No doubt, he'd never trade the path that led to Detroit and the Stanley Cup championship.

After signing autographs and posing for photos for over six straight hours, Downey took a moment to thank his community. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Downey took the celebrated Cup over to Shelburne, just a couple of miles away, where he had a few quick pictures taken at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex (the Shelburne arena) where he played as a youngster. The arena was also the starting point for an 11-mile (18 kilometer) parade, which would end at Honeywood. The parade, which began at 12:30, featured Downey and the Stanley Cup, but also included several minor hockey league teams from Shelburne and Honeywood, a lacrosse team and local figure skaters.

Aaron was situated on a flatbed float pulled behind a tractor driven by his uncle. The moment the parade began, the rain started to fall, but it didn't dampen the spirits of Downey or the revellers. The parade ended up taking almost four hours, as with every foot the trailer progressed, Aaron spotted someone else he knew, and insisted on jumping down to say hello, thrilling the crowd to no end.

Looking more like a baseball manager who had just won a divisional title, Downey dries off after having beer poured over his head. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Arriving at the Honeywood Arena at 4:30, Aaron was greeted by 6,000 rabid fans excited about the Stanley Cup's first-ever visit to the area. A welcoming ceremony included Susan Snider, the deputy mayor of Mulmur Township (who for some curious reason was repeatedly called 'Barb') proclaiming Sunday, June 29, 2008 'Aaron Downey Day' in the community.

There was food, a beer garden and live entertainment, with proceeds going to minor hockey, but the primary attraction, of course, was Aaron Downey and the Stanley Cup. "I'm not leaving here until I get a photo with everyone in this place," vowed Downey, and true to his word, he signed autographs and posed for photographs for six straight hours. Marathon man!

When the band finished its set, Aaron jumped on stage and briefly took the opportunity to thank the community. "It's a really special feeling coming back to Shelburne," he said. "Great town, great people…in fact, the friendliest people! And a great minor hockey system. It's just an honour to bring the Cup back to Shelburne."

Downey and the Cup then left the rink and headed off to his Uncle Peter's farm, a beautiful place with landscaping complete with ponds and waterfalls. The private party was great, and to add to the celebration, his uncle had arranged for a spectacular fireworks display.

Late into the party, Aaron stepped up onto a platform and thanked everybody for making the celebration so special. Just then, a friend took the Stanley Cup and dumped all the beer that filled its bowl over Aaron's head. The partiers hooted and cheered, but no one enjoyed the moment more than Aaron Downey.

He had passed his rite of passage!

* * *

Dan Cleary is the first Newfoundland-born player to celebrate with hockey's magnificent trophy, and as we celebrate Independence Day on Friday, we ask you to join us for his entry in the Stanley Cup Journal. After all, tis not every day dat Morris kills a cow, b'y!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
 
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