The Stanley Cup is one of the highlights of the Hockey Day in Canada festivities in Victoria this week, and on Thursday the coveted trophy paid a visit to the Songhees First Nation.
There was a traditional welcome at the Songhees Wellness Centre as the keeper of the cup, Phil Pritchard, was drummed in, along with sports commentator Ron MacLean and members of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.
Dozens of people filled the centre to take a picture with hockey’s holy grail, and even touch the cup.
Some visitors told CHEK News they were eager to see the cup, while others said they were too nervous to touch it.
“I don’t think so, it’s too shiny,” said one visitor with a laugh.
The cup will be rowed across Victoria’s Inner Harbour by members of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations on Saturday, when the main event begins.
Starting Saturday morning, there will be a free public festival at Ship Point, with all ages activities, food trucks, music, autographs and hockey clinics available.
People will also be able to skate on the outdoor community rink set up for the event.
“You could tell today that here at Songhees and Esquimalt Nations they just love the game and they’re so kind to welcome us to what is their land,” said MacLean on Thursday.
“You know, the story we brag about, 1925 and the Cougars – their story is 10,000 years old. All we have in the end is our story, and theirs is the best,” he said.