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2,000 greet Stanley Cup at Calahoo

Lifelong dream, says Coach Berube
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CalahooCup DR247
Coach of the Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues Craig Berube waves to fans as he rides with the Stanley Cup down the main road in Calahoo on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

UPDATE
Looks like Colton Parayko will be at the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall around 11:30 a.m. this July 3. Parayko will be at one of the two Canadian Brewhouse locations in St. Albert tomorrow for a private party but won't have the cup with him, said the manager of the southside location. We'll have more details should they become available. 

Calahoo’s favourite son came home Tuesday, and he brought the Stanley Cup – and some 2,000 friends – with him.

Roughly 400 friends, fans and family members cheered Tuesday morning as Calahoo native and St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube strode into the Calahoo arena carrying the Stanley Cup over his head as the song “Gloria” blasted from the loudspeakers.

Berube led the St. Louis Blues to their first Stanley Cup victory last month. Speaking to reporters, he said he’s always dreamed of being able to take the cup back home to enjoy it with his family and friends.

“This is my life,” he said of Calahoo, where he spent his childhood playing hockey in the old outdoor rink and fastball on the nearby ball diamond.

“Everyone I grew up with lives here, my family’s here still. They did everything they could to get me where I am today.”

Big crowd

Some 2,000 people – roughly 24 times the population of Calahoo – filed into the arena Tuesday morning to meet Berube and pose for pictures with the cup.

First in line were Gavin Bancarz and his son Brodin, the latter of whom got to help escort the cup into the arena as a player with the CR Knights Minor Hockey Association.

“I was in line at 6:30 this morning,” said Gavin, who could remember listening to the Oilers’ playoff games on 630 CHED as a kid when he was supposed to be asleep. He grew up during the Oilers’ five-cup dynasty in the 1980s, but never got a chance to see it up close until this week.

“It was an incredible dream come true and well worth the wait.”

Brodin, who has been playing hockey since he was five, said it was very cool and exciting to help bring the cup into the arena.

“Like a lot of people say, it was a dream come true.”

Just next to the stage were two other proud hockey parents: Craig Berube’s parents, Ramona and Roger Berube.

Ramona said Craig was a “hyper” child who was always outside running around or playing with his pals at the rink.

“He told me when he was 12 years old that he was going to be an NHL player,” she said.

Ramona said the family has always followed Craig’s exploits on television and occasionally in person (although she hated to see him fight – something that happened quite a lot, given his role as team enforcer), and watched this year’s playoff run with intense interest.

“My daughter, when they were losing, she couldn’t watch.”

Ramona said she had initially hoped that the Blues would make the third round of the playoffs, and was amazed when they reached the finals.

“I didn’t really think after that sixth game they were going to win, but they pulled it off.”

Role model

Event host William Norton (a distant relative of Berube) said it was a great relief to see Berube win the cup after some 30 years in the NHL as a player and coach.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said, and it’s well deserved.

“People wrote Craig off because he was an enforcer, he was a goon, but quite frankly he was the most selfless guy on the team, sacrificing his body and face day in and day out. It’s that kind of character that has made him the man he is.”

Norton said Berube would inspire many Sturgeon youths to pursue their hockey dreams, and was already a role model to his own kids and anyone else who grew up in a small town.

“You don’t have to be from the ‘the city’ to do something big and successful.”

It’s important to celebrate something like a Stanley Cup win, but you have to be ready to move on from it, Berube said.

“That’s how I was brought up. You want to go enjoy it, but we’re going to move on, be humble about it, and just be a hard-working person.”

Berube rode down Calahoo’s main street in a truck with the cup past cheering fans prior to taking it to the family farm for a private celebration. St. Albert-born defenceman Colton Parayko was scheduled to have the cup Wednesday.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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