Team Canada West players had to wait their turn as hockey's holy grail, the Stanley Cup, was the center of attention on Sunday afternoon at the Castlegar and District Recreation and Aquatic Centre.
Several fans were on hand to have their picture taken with the Stanley Cup and skate with players for an hour.
Ethan Martini was among the many young fans who took advantage of the opportunity to see the Cup and meet players, who were kept busy with autograph requests.
"When I was in line I was wondering what would happen and then I finally saw the Stanley Cup," said Martini, who likes the trophy because he loves the game. "I would like to win the Stanley Cup."
Travis Franks, another young fan, enjoyed seeing the Cup and the skate.
"It's been fun," Franks said. "They're cool."
Chad Ziegler, a 6-2, 185 lbs. forward for Team Canada West, was impressed by how many kids showed up.
"It was really cool to see the looks on their faces when they see the Team Canada jersey and ask for autographs," he said. "It's good to meet some of the fans of Team Canada. It's been unbelievable so far and it's a great experience. I can't wait for the tournament to start."
Hockey mom Sonya Lindsey brought her sons as she saw the event as an exciting event for kids.
"I mean hockey, it's so big," Lindsey explained on why people love the Cup. "It's such a Canadian sport. It's exciting and they see it on TV every year.
"Especially for the kids that do play hockey, it's kind of a goal for them to reach down the road," she added. "My oldest son especially, all he talks about is playing hockey...that possibly he can do this one day and it's exciting for him to meet these players and gives him more incentive to keep going."
As usual, Phil Pritchard, vice-president resource centre/curator (a.k.a keeper of the Cup), isn't far.
Pritchard has delivered the Stanley Cup to various locations, including Siberia, for 20 years now and he considers himself lucky to be as close to hockey's holy grail as he is.
"I'd love to be an ice hockey player and have someone bring me the Cup, but that didn't happen," he said, as fans constantly surrounded the Cup. "Anyone who is involved in the game of hockey knows how fortunate they are to be involved with the greatest sport in the world."
Part of the joy Pritchard gets from delivering the Cup is seeing the reactions on faces which are always the same - whether it's the first time or the 50th.
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