UPDATED: Big day in Bonavista as Ryder takes home the Stanley Cup

Published on August 30, 2011

3:42 p.m. — Michael Ryder told a cheering crowd this afternoon at the softball field he couldn't believe so many turned out to welcome him home with the Stanley Cup. He thanked everyone for the support. A little earlier, Ryder carried the cup into Cabot Stadium, where hundreds of screaming minor hockey players and figure skaters had their photos taken with Ryder and the cup.

At this hour, a huge line of people beginning at the softball field and nearly encircling the nearby stadium wait patiently for the chance to get their photo taken with Ryder and the cup.

SEE THE PHOTOS

Politicians are out in full force including: Premier Kathy Dunderdale, NDP leader Lorraine Michael, Liberal leader Kevin Aylward, MP Scott Simms, MHA Roger Fitzgerald and Mayor Betty Fitzgerald.

There's a huge RCMP presence both helping to control the crowd for security, being aided by the local fire department and other volunteers.

•••

1:38 p.m. — While Michael Ryder may have the Stanley Cup for one day, the dream of it coming to Bonavista was carried on the shoulders of many from the town who, over the years, made sacrifices for love for the game.

Today, along with the many visitors from outside the town, those folks are gathered to celebrate one of their own reaching the top of the hockey world.

All of the players who laced up the skates on the local ponds and marshes, the old outdoor rink at Harbour Pond, and in Cabot Stadium likely thought about bringing the Stanley Cup home.

In a way, Bonavista is a fitting place for Lord Stanley’s mug.

The community and the cup have storied histories — the town through its ups and downs as an old fishing community since discovery of Newfoundland more than 500 years ago, and the original cup with its dings and dents over the years after being lost and found by winning teams, kicked into a canal, used as a flower pot and left in a snow bank.

Both are rugged, yet beautiful and full of meaning.

The original bowl of the Stanley Cup was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the 1962 where it remains on display — a priceless symbol of the best of hockey.

The replica the teams get to carry to their respective homes carries the names of winning team members — and Michael Ryder's name is engraved upon it.

(According to the Hockey Hall of Fame website, the Stanley Cup, notably the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America, was donated in 1892 by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston and son of the Earl of Derby. He purchased the trophy for $50 at that time.)

•••

12:30 p.m. — The helicopter carrying Michael Ryder and the Stanley Cup lands in Bonavista. Cheering crowds gather around Cabot Stadium and RCMP headquarters, where the chopper landed.

A parade is currently underway and Bonavista’s streets are lined with people.

“It’s a thrill for me, a dream come true to bring the Stanley Cup to my home town,” said Ryder, who was met by a large number of family members.

“They supported me ever since I’ve been playing professional hockey and I wanted to bring the cup home to them.”

•••

12:15 p.m. — Crowds awaiting arrival of Stanley Cup and Michael Ryder in Bonavista. Updates to play-by-play coverage taxed by cell troubles... Stay tuned.

•••

11:20 a.m. — The Stanley Cup got its first ding of the day when the table the cup was placed on toppled, as Michael Ryder attended a send-off celebration in St. John's. About 50 people showed up at the rooftop of 95 Water Street to congratulate Ryder on bringing the cup to Newfoundland and Labrador. Ryder and the Cup are scheduled to board a 3D Helicopters flight to Bonavista shortly. SEE THE PHOTOS

•••

11 a.m. — A formal cup send-off is underway in St. John's, with the gathered guests awaiting the arrival of Michael Ryder and the Stanley Cup.

The Telegram's Glen Whiffen is at the event and will join Ryder and Premier Kathy Dunderdale on a helicopter ride to the Bonavista area.

•••

It’s a big day in Bonavista as crowds are expected to gather in preparation for Michael Ryder’s visit with the Stanley Cup.

Events scheduled for Bonavista include a parade through the town at 12:30 p.m.; a viewing at Cabot Stadium for Bonavista-Trinity Minor Hockey Association children, coaches, committee members and parents, and Bonavista Figure Skating kids, coaches, committee members and parents.

From 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Dunderdale and Bonavista Mayor Betty Fitzgerald will be among guest speakers at a gathering on the town's softball field behind Cabot Stadium, a field Ryder also frequented as a kid.

At 3 p.m. there is a half-hour set aside for corporate sponsors, then a public viewing on the softball field from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. where Bonavista residents and visitors alike will be able to line up and get a photo taken with Ryder and the cup.

Ryder — who in the upcoming season will be a member of the Dallas Stars along with fellow Bonavista native Adam Pardy — won the cup in June as a member of the Boston Bruins NHL team.

Updates, with photos and video, to follow throughout the day.