KAMLOOPS — They were swept into a frenzy. These Kamloops kids got the chance to get up close and personal, with a piece of hockey history.
Lord Stanley's Cup made a visit to A.E. Perry Elementary School, carried in by a man who won it twice in his 12 year NHL career. Mark Napier, along with Trevor Linden, Darcy Tucker, and Ron MacLean, were welcomed by hundreds of students and staff, adorned in hockey jerseys. It was all part of Scotia Bank's Hockey Day in Canada.
The gymnasium was bustling, as this group of hockey greats shared stories, and took questions from students.
"See the kids and interact with them, share some thoughts of my past growing up in a small town much like Kamloops, is pretty cool," says Trevor Linden, President of Vancouver Canucks Hockey & retired Canucks player.
Hockey Day in Canada is a celebration of the game our country calls its own. But it's also about life lessons, hard work, team work and dedication. And for these guys, it's a chance to put things into perspective, visiting smaller city's and town like Kamloops, where many live and breathe the game.
"I'm just sitting here looking at these 5 year old kids in kindergarden, it's really interesting. There's so much life in this room, it certainly puts a different spin on things, kind of takes you back to the grassroots of why we all do what we do," says Linden.
"Being a Blazer is a special thing, being in this community is a special thing. I spent 4 years of my life here, went to school here. I just feel like the community is so entrenched in not only hockey, but just how they make people feel," says Darcy Tucker, retired NHL player & former Kamloops Blazer.
For retired NHLer and former Kamloops Blazer Darcy Tucker, being back in the city where he spent most of his teenage years, is an honour, and he offered some advice.
"Just shoot for the stars, live your dream and hopefully everything works out," says Tucker.
The visit to A.E. Perry was one of 4 other stops to Kamloops schools, something these students won't soon forget. And you never know, maybe one day we'll see some of these faces in the league, like the hockey stars before them.
"Kamloops has always been such a passionate hockey market. I first came here when I was 15 years old, I was playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers, it was the league final against the Kamloops Blazers and we lost that series, but I recognize how passionate the fans here are about hockey and they're great Canucks fans," says Linden.
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