Following a community celebration on Saturday

Following a community celebration on Saturday

Stanley Cup touches down in Penticton

Hundreds turn out for ceremony and photos with former resident and current NHL defenceman Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith’s face got quite a workout Saturday as he smiled his way through hundreds of photos with fans in Penticton.

“It’s not hurting — I can’t feel it,” he said with a laugh after hosting a community event at Gyro Park, where he put the Stanley Cup on display and spent nearly an hour posing for pictures with the public.

The 30-year-old Chicago Blackhawks defenceman won his second cup this June and shared part of his day with the trophy with the community, just as he did in 2010.

Summerland teacher Raja Gupta was among the first in line for a photo.

“It’s nice that Duncan did offer the time,” Gupta said. “It’s good for the community.”

Penticton woman Bonnie Inglis was similarly pleased and happy to have squeezed in a hug on Keith.

“I am a die-hard Canucks fan, but this is about the closest we’ll get to see the cup in B.C.,” she said.

RCMP Const. Tim Wood was one of two local Mounties lucky enough to suit up in dress uniforms for the public event, at which the City of Penticton proclaimed Duncan Keith Day.

“They sent out an email to the whole detachment and I jumped on it when I heard about it, Wood said.

“It’s a boyhood dream for any Canadian kid to stand with the Stanley Cup, and to do it with red serge is an honour.

The guest of honour was “super-approachable and really polite,” Wood added.  “With famous people you never know, but he’s down to earth and super-easy to talk to. Awesome guy.”

Keith moved to the Okanagan with his family as a teenager and played two seasons with the Penticton Minor Hockey Association, then three seasons of junior A hockey with the Penticton Panthers before moving on to the college and professional ranks.

He was happy to share the cup with the community.

“I think it’s important to give back. Obviously there’s a lot of people who helped me along the way in this town, in this city, and it’s nice for the young kids to get a chance to see (the cup) and talk to them a little bit,” Keith said.

Following the event at Gyro Park, Keith and the cup headed off to a party with family and friends, likely among the tamer functions the trophy has appeared at.

“We can do most things with it,” he said. “Just got to have a little respect for it though, right? I mean, it is Lord Stanley, so you don’t want to be messing with it too much.”

The six-foot-one, 200-pound blue-liner scored three goals and 27 points in 47 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He’s heading back to Chicago on Monday to begin skating ahead of the Blackhawks’ training camp, which opens Sept. 12.

Keith spent last week in Calgary with 46 other players vying to make Team Canada’s roster for the 2014 Olympics in Russia. He was part of the squad that won gold in the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

 

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