Sunday, 08.28.2011 / 6:54 PM
CORNWALL, PEI -- As his own day with the Stanley Cup got into high gear, Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid talked about his favorite memory from the B's championship run.
"To see the reaction of the fans and the support that we had was pretty great."
Anyone who saw the reaction of the fans from Prince Edward Island was surely saying the same thing as McQuaid traded a Boston Duck Boat for a hometown "Harbour Hippo" to travel through Cornwall to celebrate the Black & Gold's Stanley Cup championship.
For Adam, the return to his home in the Canadian Maritimes was a given.
"To go to the different schools and different places that I spent a lot of time growing up -- that's what made me what I am today and it's nice to go back and see those places and especially to bring this along with me," said McQuaid.
In fact, McQuaid wanted today to go well so badly for his family, friends and fans, he was still showing some nerves even as he held the Cup in his arms at mid-morning.
"The nerves are dying down a little bit, but even still I'm still a little nervous," he said. "You know, it's a big day and I've been waiting a while for it. And hopefully everything goes smooth.
"A lot of planning when into today," added McQuaid. "Hopefully everything can work out."
By all accounts, McQuaid's day went off without a hitch.
"Well, we picked up the cup at the airport and we had a little tour around my hometown of Cornwall," said McQuaid, downplaying he and Stanley's packed schedule,"the different schools that I went to growing up and the old rink that I played at growing up.
"And right now we're at my father's homestead where he grew up to get some pictures and wait around for the parade.
"Then I'll have a little private gathering," he said.
In contrast my own private notions, it's the land that is so initially striking about the first impression of Prince Edward Island, and as McQuaid was photographed in and around his old stomping grounds, the green beauty of the natural landscape and the red soil of the fields contrasted nicely with the dark blue hues of the Atlantic seen in Charlottetown.
Most interesting (and perhaps a first for the Cup) was the McQuaid family's visit to a local potato farm and pictures with Stanley some very well known products of their home province.
"Well, really, it's what PEI is known for," said McQuaid of the potatoes. "It's kind of cliche I guess, but it's still part of who I am and where I am from."
Those people who surrounded him in nearly every picture -- McQuaid's family and friends -- certainly get the lion's share of credit for instilling the work ethic and values that fueled Adam's ascension to the NHL and the young blueliner made sure everyone knew it.
"I've had an amazing amount of support from my family and, you know, today's a day that we all get to share together and for a lot of people here it will their first chance to see the Cup -- it's exciting to see the reaction you get from people when they get to see it," he said.
McQuaid, a soft spoken, but well spoken, recent entry in the B's locker room, decided to take a moment to thank the hundreds of people who lined his parade's route and waited in the parking lot of the APM Centre.
"To see the support that I have here keeps me going during the season. It gives me the added motivation a lot of days," said McQuaid. "There's some long days, so knowing that I have the support from you guys means a lot.
"I'd like to thank all the volunteers here today for making today happen. I had a great committee that helped put the day together. It wouldn't have been able to go as smooth -- so far -- as it has without them.
Obviously, I'd like to thank all my family and my extended family that's come in from all over the place; my billet family from Sudbury and everyone who's traveled here to the island from Boston," he said.
But McQuaid seemed to want to talk specifically to the young people in attendance and his words of wisdom came from a place that belied his youth.
"I just want to say that it was just a short time ago, I think seven years ago, I was just like anybody else in the crowd watching [fellow PEI native] Brad Richards have his celebration," said McQuaid.
"I guess I just want to say that regardless of what you're doing, whether it's hockey or whatever it might be, if you want something bad enough and you're willing to make a sacrifice and be determined to get there -- it may not happen overnight and there's going to be your ups-and-downs -- you can always make it happen if you truly believe it."