Jordan Nolan brings Stanley Cup back home
Stanley Cup champion Jordan Nolan is Wawatay’s newsmaker of the year.
After being called up to the Los Angeles Kings in February, the six-foot-three, 227 pound winger from Garden River First Nation played every game until the Kings won the Stanley Cup on June 11.
“The countdown at the game (during the last minute of play), it was more exciting than the New Years Eve countdown at Times Square,” said Nolan’s aunt, Barbara Nolan. “It was more than that.”
Barbara said the crowd watching the game at Garden River’s recreation centre erupted in cheers as the Kings won the game.
“Oh, the community just went wild,” Barbara said. “It was just filled with some awesome good feelings.”
The 23-year-old son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan scored two points during 20 Stanley Cup playoff games, including an assist on the first goal of the finals, and served 21 penalty minutes to help the Kings win their first Stanley Cup.
After a couple of weeks of celebrations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas after winning the Stanley Cup, Nolan returned home to Garden River to celebrate with his family and community.
“I’ve been pretty busy the past two days, just trying to get everything organized in our house,” the 23-year-old Stanley Cup champion said. “Just to set up for the parade that we’re gonna have here.”
Nolan brought the Stanley Cup home on Aug. 20 to celebrate with hundreds of community members. Festivities included the smudging of the Stanley Cup, addresses from chiefs, Nolan’s presentation of the Stanley Cup to the youth, and a parade along Highway 17B, including a short stop at the landmark Garden River train bridge for photos.
Although Nolan was drafted in the eight round in 2009, his father said one of the knocks against him was his work ethic. But Nolan changed his attitude and toiled away in the minors until he was called up to the Kings. His dedication to the game was made clear as he played during the final minute of the Stanley Cup clinching game.
“Before I started my American Hockey League career, (my father) said just dedicate five years of your life to hockey and do everything you can do to get to the NHL, and if things don’t work out, you can go do something else,” Nolan said. “But my main goal was to be in the NHL and I knew that. In order for that to happen, I’d have to make some changes in my life, and once I made those decisions, everything just started clicking so things worked out.”
Ted Nolan and his wife Sandra shed tears of joy as Nolan hoisted the Stanley Cup during the June 11 on-ice celebrations.
“It’s special feeling too coming from a First Nations community, Garden River,” Ted said.
“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. It’s something that still sends chills down your back.”
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