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Warroad set to make history with Stanley Cup's first visit

It's not easy to claim hockey 'firsts' in Warroad. The town has long produced hockey stars. It has had state champion boys teams and state champion girls teams. It has had Mr. Hockey and Ms. Hockey winners. It has sent players to U.S. National Teams.

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Washington's T.J. Oshie hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in the Stanley Cup Final. Photo/Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports

It’s not easy to claim hockey ‘firsts’ in Warroad.

The town has long produced hockey stars.

It has had state champion boys teams and state champion girls teams.

It has had Mr. Hockey and Ms. Hockey winners.

It has sent players to U.S. National Teams. Four have come back with Olympic gold medals.

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It has sent players to the NHL.

But until Tuesday, none have brought the Stanley Cup back to the town nicknamed Hockeytown USA.

T.J. Oshie, who helped the Washington Capitals to an NHL championship last month, will bring the famed trophy to Warroad this morning.

There will be a presentation open to the public at 9 a.m. at the Gardens Arena. At 10:45 a.m., he’ll lead a ‘whip’ through downtown Warroad to The Point and back, riding in a convertible. At 11:30 a.m., he’ll be off to the Twin Cities.

Each regular player on the Stanley Cup-winning team gets to have one day with the Cup to do nearly whatever they please.

Oshie opted to become the first to take it to Warroad, the town where he played high school hockey from 2002-05. He lead the Warriors to a pair of state championships, including an unbeaten season.

Although Warroad has produced a handful of NHL players, Oshie was the first to win it.

“Warroad was so close to getting the Cup in 1990, when Dave Christian was in the Stanley Cup Finals,” said Warroad native Jess Myers, who will serve as the emcee of the event. “I think of how close Baudette was to getting the Cup in 2011, when Keith Ballard played in a Game 7.

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“With all of the gold medals that have come to Warroad and the number of NHL players that have come from this town, you realize just how hard it is to win this trophy and what a rare thing it is to do.”

How big of a deal is this for Warroad?

“There are friends of mine who have not lived in Warroad in 20 years, who are packing up the car and heading up there,” Myers said. “This is akin to some of the U.S. Olympic teams heading up to Warroad to play.”

Oshie’s visit in Warroad is expected to bring a lot of media coverage.

Hockey Night in Canada has a crew in Warroad. Washington has a TV station there. The NHL has a national reporter in town.

The Stanley Cup made a visit to Roseau in 2010 after Dustin Byfuglien won it with the Chicago Blackhawks. That was its first trip to Roseau County.

Today, it’s Warroad’s day.

T.J. Oshie’s Stanley Cup Day In Warroad, Minn.

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7:30 a.m.: Doors open to the Gardens Arena. Commemorative t-shirts are available for sale for $20.

8:30 a.m.: Special escort and motorcade from Warroad Airport to the Gardens.

9 a.m.: Stanley Cup viewing and presentation at the Gardens. There will be limited opportunities for fans to take pictures with the Cup. Oshie will take photos with Warroad youth teams.

10:45 a.m.: Oshie will take the Cup for a “whip” through downtown and to The Point.

11:30 a.m.: Oshie will leave from Warroad Airport to go to the Twin Cities.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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