(Courtesy of James Shewaga, Brandon sun) — Former Wheat Kings Ron Hextall and Darren Granger will be bringing the Stanley Cup back home to Brandon this month.
The two Wheat City natives and members of the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings organization are scheduled to get their day with the Cup — Granger on Monday, July 16 and Hextall on Tuesday, July 17 — with both planning to take part in a public celebration with the NHL’s championship trophy on July 16 at the Keystone Centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Full details of the open photograph/autograph session — with donations to the United Way — are expected to be announced next week.
“It’s going to be a great day and I’m certainly looking forward to it,” said Hextall, the Kings’ assistant general manager and vice-president. “It’s been a special year and it certainly will be a special day.”
For the 40-year-old Granger, the Kings’ head equipment manager, having the chance to bring the Stanley Cup home is something he only dreamed of as a kid.
“For sure, like every kid, right?” Granger said yesterday from L.A. “When you played on the street, you always played for the Stanley Cup … It’s going to be a pretty cool day and I am looking forward to having friends and family and everyone see it and take pictures and all that stuff. So it’s going to be a pretty awesome day.”
Granger and Hextall both got to hoist the Stanley Cup after the Kings’ 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on June 11 that clinched the series in six games. The Cup is currently overseas in Europe where star centre Anze Kopitar had his day with it back home in Slovenia on Friday, with the trophy is scheduled to return to North America next week.
“We weren’t really sure how it was going to work out and every team is different, but it’s pretty cool that they’ve allowed us to have a day (with the Cup),”said Granger, who spent five seasons as trainer with his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings before moving on the NHLfor 13 years with the Vancouver Canucks and now six seasons with Los Angeles. “Pretty much everybody, players and hockey operations, are going to get some time with it … everybody who works in the hockey office, scouts, everybody. So it’s great.”
After the public autograph/ photograph session at the Keystone Centre on July 16, Granger will have some private time for the rest of the day with the Cup, sharing it with friends and family, including his mother and his sister who live in Brandon and his wife Cathryn’s family from Portage.
Hextall, a 48-year-old former Wheat Kings star who went on to play 13 seasons in the NHL, will have his own day with the Cup on July 17, sharing it with friends and family from Brandon, Winnipeg and Minnedosa, where his wife Diane is from.
“There is no other place I would think about bringing (the Cup) to,”Hextall said. “We were all getting together anyways this summer and it just worked out that we could do it with the Cup. So it’s going to be pretty special.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 7, 2012