Penguins winger Phil Kessel was called dubbed a “legend” at Pittsburgh’s record-setting Stanley Cup parade, and the former Maple Leaf said he might be using his day with the Cup to bring it back to Toronto.
The Stanley Cup drought may not be over for the Maple Leafs, but fans in Toronto might get a day with the trophy.
Ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup parade, Sportsnet 590’s Joey Vendetta spoke with Phil Kessel, who said he hasn’t quite made up his mind about what his plans are for his day with the Stanley Cup. Most might have assumed that Kessel would take the Stanley Cup back to his home, Madison, Wis., but the 28-year-old said he might be taking the trophy back to Toronto.
“I probably will end up bringing it back (to Toronto). Nothing for sure yet, nothing’s been decided, but I think there’s a good chance that’ll happen,” Kessel told Vendetta. “I have a lot of friends in Toronto. That’s kinda where I spend most of my time now.”
What exactly Kessel does with the Cup in Toronto, who knows, but the fact he’s bringing it back to the city might shock some considering his sudden exit in July 2015. However, after being traded, Kessel said he would miss the city and “always consider Toronto home.” Kessel did spend six whole seasons in Toronto — the better part of his career — and was by far the team’s most dynamic player during that time. Kessel scored 181 goals and 394 points in 446 games as a Maple Leaf, and his speed, shot and pure scoring ability made him a fan favorite.
Those same skills have made Kessel a beloved player rather quickly in Pittsburgh, but not just by fans. During Wednesday’s Stanley Cup parade, Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino, who formed two-thirds of the HBK Line with Kessel, talked up Kessel’s performance in the post-season and said just how grateful they were to play with the “legend:”
Nick Bonino & Carl Hagelin showed serious love for Phil Kessel, the Stanley Cup Champion, during today’s parade. pic.twitter.com/oIKr8F8dkP
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) June 15, 2016
Kessel’s Stanley Cup plans weren’t the only highlight of the Penguins’ Cup parade, however. One person on hand was Hockey Night Punjabi broadcaster Harnarayan Singh. His now famous call that followed each of Bonino’s playoff goals took on a life of its own with the Penguins and their fans during the post-season. The call had become a rallying cry for the the Penguins and it was one of the best calls of the post-season. Animations of the call popped up, fans were hollering it and even the Penguins themselves joined in. During the parade, Singh gave his best “Bonino! Bonino! Bonino!” goal call, and he also began the day by showcasing the call for the Penguins ahead of their trip out onto the ice to take a team photo with the Stanley Cup.
The parade through Pittsburgh was the largest sports parade in the city’s history, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. According to various reports, the number of fans on hand was anywhere between 400,000 and 500,000, and people packed the streets, sidewalks and any structure they could find to get a glimpse of the Penguins parading through the city with the Stanley Cup.