At 8:24PM, Thursday, June 7th, 2018, Brett Connolly of Prince George got his chance to live every Canadian boy’s dream and lift the Stanley Cup high above his shoulders.
A few minutes later, the 26-year-old Connolly was standing on the T-Mobile Arena ice in Las Vegas beside his wife Katrina, mom Dawn, dad Pat, brother Josh, and grandfather Richard (who is from Newfoundland) being interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada in what was a special moment that only a select few will ever experience.
The former Prince George Cougar and Cariboo Cougar will never forget the Washington Capitals 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in game five of the best-of-seven final series that gave him and his team their first Stanley Cup.
Connolly made the most of his 11 minutes and 10 seconds of ice time.
In fact, he set up the game winning goal by line-mate Lars Eller with just 7:37 left in the third period to snap a 3-3 tie.
Does it get much better than that???
Connolly had been with two other NHL organizations, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who drafted him sixth overall in 2010, and the Boston Bruins.
Both teams eventually gave up on him, but Connolly didn’t give up on himself and persevered, knowing that the Capitals may be his last shot to stick in the NHL.
Last year, Connolly saw limited ice time in the playoffs for Washington, and was a healthy scratch in the second round series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he believed he was on the cusp of being a regular.
His determination and fortitude has now paid off with hockey’s ultimate prize.
Connolly played in all 24 of the Washington post-season games this year and put up six goals and three assists while playing on the third line.
He got stronger, just like his teammates, as the playoffs wore on, finishing with two goals and one GIGANTIC assist in the five games against Vegas.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 8, 2018
Connolly was asked on national television by the CBC’s Scott Oake how the smooth the transition has been since joining the Capitals as free agent a couple of years ago.
“Amazing. It is such a great group of guys. They made it so easy for me to come in and play and be comfortable, just friends I will have forever. Now it’s an amazing moment and I’m just so proud of everyone, and these fans have been dying for this, so it’s going to be a great night.”
Brett’s mom, Dawn, a registered nurse with Northern Health, got TV time as well telling Sportsnet and the CBC, “I’m kind of lost for words. It’s amazing, amazing, amazing. They were down by a goal with not a whole lot of time left and here we are, never a doubt. I had to take some rosary beads out when they were down by a goal and those rosary beads are getting framed.”
.@bconnolly8 of #PrinceGeorge signed a 2-year contract extension with the @Capitals in the summer; he tallied 23pts (15G, 8A) in the 2017-18 season, 9pts in the playoffs (6G, 3A) en route to his 1st #StanleyCup | #CityOfPG #Sports @mypgnow pic.twitter.com/u4qYl6rqtP
— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) June 8, 2018
Brett was born in Campbell River, but moved to Prince George at age 10, and it wasn’t long before he would dominate on his PG Minor Hockey rep teams before graduating to the BC Major Midget League and the WHL, playing for the hometown team where he was a natural goal scorer.
Connolly will be the second player to bring the Stanley Cup to Prince George and first in 15 years (Turner Stevenson in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils).
As a team, the Capitals had to wait 44 years to hoist the Cup.
It wasn’t near that long a wait for Connolly who is enjoying something that Marcel Dionne, Darryl Sittler, Gil Perreault, and Brad Park never got to experience.
— NHL (@NHL) June 8, 2018
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
According to ESPN, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals are the fourth set of teammates to accumulate at least 25 points apiece in the past 10 NHL post-seasons. Ah for the days when they would have been the most successful Russians in Washington.
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
Did you see game 2 of the NBA finals? The Golden State Warriors beat up on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not a pretty sight. Steph Curry set an all-time finals record with nine 3-pointers. Two of them he shot from the parking lot as he was getting in his car.
*Jimmy Kimmel Live
Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish says he thinks the Cubs fans hate him. He should go play for the Philadelphia Phillies where the fans there remove any doubt.
*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/
Terrell Owens announced that he will not attend his induction ceremony into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame responded by announcing that instead of T.O.’s bust, there will be one in his place of Marlon Brando.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm wound up in the ER after he got a fish hook stuck in his leg. Bulldog apologists immediately blamed it on his line.
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Mehgan Markle and Prince Harry reportedly went to Africa for their third date. Now they are married — safari, so good.
*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller