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Planning the Garden River Stanley Cup parade

Thursday July 5, 2012

Jordan Nolan has been a busy man since last February.

After being called up to join the Los Angeles Kings, Nolan played every game until June 11, when the team won hockey’s greatest prize: the Stanley Cup. The win was followed by two weeks of celebrations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Even as he returned to Garden River in late June, Nolan still found himself preoccupied.
“I’ve been pretty busy the past two days, just trying to get everything organized in our house,” the 22-year-old said. “Just to set up for the parade that we’re gonna have here.”

For his day with the Stanley Cup, Nolan will be bringing it to his home community on Aug. 20.
“I’m excited to bring the Cup back here and share it with everyone,” he said.

Nolan has come a long way since being drafted as an 18-year-old in 2009. Nolan’s father, Ted, said one of the knocks about his son was his work ethic and he was not offered a contract by the Kings. But after a chat with his father, Jordan made some important life decisions.

“He hired himself a personal trainer in the Soo here,” the elder Nolan said. “He got up at six in the morning, stopped going out Friday and Saturday nights and dedicated himself to his trade.”

The newfound commitment has certainly paid off for Nolan. After playing another season in the Ontario Hockey League followed by a season and a half of playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League farm team, the Manchester Monarchs, Nolan got the call to join the Kings.

Nolan played his first NHL game on Feb. 11 against the New York Islanders – Ted’s former NHL coaching gig – and scored his first NHL goal the next night against the Dallas Stars.

Nolan managed to stay with club until their Stanley Cup win, but being a rookie playing on the fourth line, Nolan knew other players were waiting to take his roster spot.

“It was definitely in the back of my mind,” he said.

Nolan was on the ice during the last minute of Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils as the Kings held on to a 6-1 lead. Sitting in the stands with his wife, Ted said they embraced and shed tears as the clock ticked down.

“It’s special feeling too coming from a First Nations community, Garden River. Some of the things that our people went through and what have you, and all of sudden, you see one of our own win the Stanley Cup and bring it to a First Nations community,” he said. “It’s something that still sends chills down your back.”

While Nolan is excited to celebrate his Stanley Cup victory with the community in August, he knows there is more hard work ahead.

“Nothing’s guaranteed in hockey and so I gotta work hard all summer and make sure I get a roster spot first and then go from there,” he said.


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