On any given winter day in Minnesota, ice rinks are full of kids on skates—refining their skills for their next hockey game, or just fueling their passion for the sport.
Just ask T.J. Oshie. It wasn’t until high school that Oshie moved to Warroad, Minn., and helped lead his team to multiple state championships, but it didn’t take long for the small town in northern Minnesota to quickly leave its mark on his life.
When Oshie won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last month, it was easy to decide where he would spend his designated day with the cup.
On July 24, more than a month after hoisting the Cup in the air for the first time, Oshie spent the day parading it around Minnesota, with stops in Warroad and the Twin Cities.
Lord Stanley has visited the State of Hockey before, but never the town of Warroad. On Tuesday morning, Hockeytown USA welcomed him home with open arms.
“To bring it to Warroad, where hockey, it didn’t get started for me, but that’s where I started improving,” Oshie said. You get to skate every day up there for free. It’s hard not to have fun and get better every day. To bring it up there to the people of Warroad, who took us in and made us feel like we were born and raised there, that was really special.”
After a red carpet welcome and whirlwind morning, Oshie flew the Stanley Cup to the Twin Cities to spend the afternoon at MAP Hockey in Mendota Heights, where he often spends time training.
Hundreds of kids filled St. Thomas Ice Arena to see the Stanley Cup and give Oshie a high-five.
For 11-year-old Max Powers-Brekke of Eastview, the chance to see the Stanley Cup in person was an unforgettable experience.
“It’s a lot bigger in real life,” Powers-Breke said. “And it looks like a lot better seeing it in person. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, which is crazy. To see Oshie up close was mind blowing.”
Oshie said it meant a lot to share the Stanley Cup with the kids, especially as he remembered back to his earlier playing days.
“That was my main goal with the first half of the day, was to get it in front of the kids,” Oshie said. “We took it to every youth hockey player in Warroad. We’ve got all the kids here. This is where I train. This is where they put me through the ringer until I’m ready to go out there and try to win this thing.”
Oshie made a stop at his home with the Stanley Cup, and spent the rest of the evening with it in Minneapolis, sharing it with many who helped him get to where he is today.
Just as the kids’ faces lit up when they saw the trophy in person, Oshie can’t help but smile when he thinks of everyone who was able to welcome him home and see the Cup.
“It’s been pretty surreal,” Oshie said. “It really has. I thought everything would catch up to me when I got it back. Carrying this thing around, you see people’s faces when they see it. There really is no other trophy like it.”
Carrying this thing around, you see people’s faces when they see it. There really is no other trophy like it.