The man who gave Fort Frances a shout-out after winning his third NHL title is heading this way—and he’s bringing at least one shiny souvenir with him.
Larry Patrick confirmed Chicago Blackhawks’ defenceman and former resident Duncan Keith will bring the Stanley Cup to town Aug. 1 for a full day of events.
Keith scored the series-winning goal in Game 6 on June 15 as the Hawks blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win the best-of-seven series 4-2.
He also was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Patrick, a member of the committee organizing the visit, said Keith tentatively is scheduled to bring that trophy, too, although that wasn’t guaranteed at this point.
The day will begin with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena, where Keith played his minor hockey from age five-14.
The Fort Frances Highlanders will lead a procession into the arena for Keith, his various family members who are coming in for the day, and assorted dignitaries.
Brittany Hayes will sing the U.S. and Canadian national anthems before a series of short speeches by the dignitaries.
Keith then will address the crowd, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session involving himself and a number of Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association players.
Then around 10:45 a.m., the festivities tentatively are scheduled to move upstairs to the auditorium for an autograph and photo session for the public with Keith and the Cup.
That will last until about 11:45 a.m.
“We’re encouraging people to bring any memorabilia they want signed,” said Patrick.
“But it’s important to mention we have time constraints on the day and [the autograph session] is not something we can have go on forever,” he stressed.
“Duncan only has one day with the Cup and we’re pretty much following the template supplied to us by his father, Dave, from the two times he brought it to Penticton [in 2010 and 2013].”
Following an invite-only lunch at Boston Pizza, Keith will embark on a tour of Fort Frances around 1:30 p.m.
It will stop at various locations of Keith’s choosing, where the blueliner will get out and get pictures taken by a designated tour photographer.
There are no plans at these stops for any extra autograph signing or photo opportunities for the public, other than those whom Keith is visiting at those locations.
Those spots (in no particular order) will include the CIBC (where his dad used to work), Keith’s old house on Shevlin Avenue, the Civic Centre, La Verendrye Hospital, Rainycrest, and Front Street Manor.
It will wrap up at the Couchiching Arena around 4 p.m.
Following some down time for the family, there will be an invite-only meet-and-greet with Keith at La Place Rendez-Vous from 7-10 p.m.
Patrick said one of the official “keepers of the Cup” from the Hockey Hall of Fame also will be on hand for the day’s events.
He noted more specifics will be made public once they are official.