One of the most well-known sports trophies in the world is coming to Smithers.
In March, the Stanley Cup will be flying into town for the first time ever.
“It’s going to be very exciting for all the people up there,” said Smithers all-star Joe Watson, who won the Cup in 1973-74 and 1974-75 playing alongside his all-star brother Jim with the Broadstreet Bully Philadelphia Flyers.
“That trophy has been touched by superstar athletes from all over the world and the folks in Smithers get a chance to kiss it or touch it. It brings good luck, they say, so maybe that will work for some of the people.”
Currently, when a team wins the Cup, each player gets to spend the day with the trophy. Back in the ‘70s, when Watson won it, there were no opportunities to bring it back to his hometown.
After several chats with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Watson arranged for it to come on Mar. 17.
“It’s been to Europe because of the players that play in the NHL teams, respectively. It’s been to South America. I just thought it would be nice to have it in my hometown where I grew up,” said Watson.
Exact plans have not been finalized for the town’s day with the chalice, but Kent Delwisch, co-chair of the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament, said it could involve having the Cup at the arena.
“It would be nice for the kids in the community to be able to come and have a look. I think it would be pretty special for them,” said Delwisch.
“We want to give it as much exposure as we can and get as many people as we can to have a chance to look at the Cup.”
Having the Cup in town also kicks off this year’s celebrity golf tournament.
The tournament, that has been running for more than two decades, was cancelled last summer due to scheduling conflicts.
But this year, organizers are preparing for the event to be larger than the last, with some hockey legends set to tee off as well.
“We have Bobby Orr coming for our golf tournament as one of the big celebrities, him and Dan Hamhuis which is really big for our community,” said Delwisch, adding that Global BC anchor Steve Darling will return as MC and Todd Talbot from the show Love It or List It has also expressed interest in returning.
Details are still being finalized and will be released later this week, but Delwisch confirmed the celebrity hockey game will be on Thursday, Aug. 13 and the golf tournament will be on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Proceeds from the tournament go toward the Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation.