The quiet town of Orono, Ontario is part of the Municipality of Clarington, not quite an hour east of Toronto. The town has a rich tradition in growing wonderful products, including vegetables and fruits, evergreens (from 1922 until 1996, the Orono Forestry Station produced millions of seedlings) and hockey players. And while the best-known hockey players from Orono to this point all had the surname of West (Steve West starred in the World Hockey Association, his father and uncles played on the Orono Orphans, the 1948-49 Ontario Junior 'D' champions and 1959-60 Ontario Intermediate 'C' champions, and Steve's daughter Sommer has played for Team Canada's Under-18 and Under-22 hockey teams), there is a new hockey hero in town, and he goes by the name of Bryan Bickell.
|Bickell, his girlfriend Amanda and their two dogs pose for a photo with the Cup at his cottage. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Twenty-five years after Chicago's last Stanley Cup victory, Bryan Bickell came into this world, and was raised in Orono, the town of 2,000. "I lived here until I was 16, so to bring the Stanley Cup back here to the people who have supported me through my whole hockey family is a great opportunity to celebrate with them," Bickell said. "It means a lot, being from Orono, living in Orono and playing for Orono."
Bickell left home to play junior with the Ottawa 67s and the Windsor Spitfires, and was then drafted by Chicago in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. On April 5, 2007, Bryan was summoned to the Hawks and scored a goal in his first NHL contest, a 3-2 win over Detroit. He played a handful of games with Chicago in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and then joined the big club for 16 regular season games this season, as well as 4 games in the post-season.
With minutes left in the third period and Chicago up 3-3 in Game Six of the Stanley Cup final, the Blackhawks' management instructed players not dressed to pull on their equipment so they could join the on-ice celebration. "They had us put our gear on with five minutes left," said Bickell, the big Chicago winger. But then, with 3:59 remaining in regulation time, the Flyers scored to tie the game. Bryan chuckled, recalling, "We had to go hide in the corner between the third and overtime."
Patrick Kane ensured that Bickell and the boys didn't need to shed their equipment when he scored at 4:06 of overtime to earn the Stanley Cup championship for Chicago.
To read the entire journal entry, please visit the Hockey Hall Of Fame website.