The Stanley Cup will make its way to Brandon later this month, but there aren’t any plans for a public viewing of it in the Wheat City.
Darren Granger, the head equipment manager for the National Hockey League champion Los Angeles Kings, gets his day with hockey’s Holy Grail on July 31 and has planned a private family function with the trophy in Brandon that evening. During the day, he plans to take the Cup to Portage la Prairie, which is where his wife is from, to have a public showing at Boston Pizza from 9 a.m. to noon, in which people can have their picture taken with it.
This is the second time the Brandon-born former Wheat Kings trainer has had a day with the Cup — he also had one in 2012 — and felt it was appropriate to share Lord Stanley’s mug publicly in Portage this year, since he did it in Brandon two years ago.
"My wife is from Portage and we spend a lot of time in Portage and Delta Beach in the summers," he said. "In 2012, we did the public charity thing in Brandon, so we decided this time we would move it there and let the people and kids there enjoy some time with it."
All money raised in Portage will go to the Chance 2 Grow charity.
Granger loved his first day with the Cup in 2012, but he admits this one feels a little different and may be a bit better. He knows how the plans for the day work, which makes the logistics a bit easier, and this time his name will be on the trophy.
In 2012, the plate with the Kings’ championship team hadn’t been engraved yet, but it’s on there now and Granger can’t wait to share the experience of having family and friends look at his name on the prestigious trophy.
"It’s pretty cool," he said. "I saw it the first time when the Cup came to LA for a charity event before the lockout started. We got a chance to spend time with it after the first game of the season, they had it in the dressing room there, so everybody was able to see their names. … Like Darryl Sutter said, ‘It’s like when your kid goes off to school or college and comes back to visit, it’s nice to have them back.’"
Granger is also looking forward to hearing tales from the Cup handlers, who share a lot of the trophy’s history with anyone who asks.
As much as Granger is looking forward to his day with the Stanley Cup, he also remains grateful to the Kings and the Hockey Hall of Fame for allowing it to happen.
"I’m glad that we get the day," he said. "It’s one of those things in my job where the players and team work so hard to win this trophy that it’s nice that we get a chance to have a day with it and family and friends get some time to spend the day with it. I’m hoping that, just like last time when we had it in Brandon and Delta, it’s fun and lots of people can see it and enjoy it as much as my own family does."