Kevin Westgarth to bring Stanley Cup home

By Joel Charron

Kevin Westgarth is bringing the Stanley Cup back to Amherstburg.

“The Cup is absolutely coming back to Amherstburg,” said Westgarth in a phone interview. “I’m looking forward to bringing it back to my hometown.”

Westgarth’s life has been somewhat of a whirlwind since the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games.  From late night talk show appearances to celebrating with fans at Dodger Stadium to the Kings parade celebration, Westgarth said he’s “living a dream.”

“Life has been pretty unbelievable lately. This is what I’ve always dreamt about ever since I started playing hockey,” said Westgarth.

It’s been a long journey for Westgarth to get in the position he’s in. He began playing hockey in Amherstburg at age five and later in his career played for the Sun County Panthers AA team and eventually found himself playing Jr. B hockey in Chatham.

Westgarth, along with his brother Brett also donned the General Amherst jersey, playing for then coach Mike Smith.

“Those were some fun times on the ice,” said Westgarth.

After earning a scholarship to Princeton, Westgarth signed with the Los Angeles Kings as an undrafted free agent in 2007.

“It definitely has been a fun ride so far,” he said.

Westgarth said he started to feel they had a good shot at winning hockey’s most prized position when the Kings returned home from Vancouver with a 2-0 lead in the series.

“When we were coming home with a 2-0 lead everyone really started to believe that that we could actually do this,” he said.

As the playoffs wore on and the Kings advanced further into the playoffs, Westgarth said the city of Los Angeles embraced the team.

Kevin Wesgarth celebrates with the Stanley Cup moments after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 to win the series 4-2.

“We heard from a number of the guys from the ’93 team that the city was taken over with ‘hockey fever’,” he explained. “We always had a good fan base but when there is the possibility that something special might happen a lot more people take notice. The city kind of woke up to a degree for us.”

Westgarth said being able to win A Stanley Cup for a city that has never won it before was “pretty incredible”

Westgarth recalls going behind the bench as time was ticking away and referred to him and his teammates as little children as they watched the seconds fall off the clock.

After watching several of his teammates hoist the cup over their head, the cup was passed to him and the 28-year-old Amhersrtburg native finally got what he’s been waiting for his entire career.

“It’s what every hockey player dreams about as soon as you lace up the skates,” he said. “To lift the cup over my head, the feel is indescribable.”

Westgarth was able to share that moment with his wife Maegan and mother Gilda Poltras. His father, Reg, was at home watching on TV with a few friends, however Reg had been in New Jersey for Game 5 of the series.

Reg said he received a phone cal from his son while he was celebrating on the ice. Westgarth also called his brother, who was working in Trinidad on a business trip for Price Waterhouse.

“It was a pretty proud moment,” said Reg. “This is something that he’s always wanted to do and with the way the playoffs went, everything was pointing in the right direction.”

Reg said while talking to his son, he saw him on TV talking on the phone.

“It was a really nice moment to share with him,” Reg said.

Westgarth said it has been “one thing after another” since winning. The team celebrated with fans at Dodger Stadium, where the cup was place on the pitchers mound. Westgarth snapped a photo then posted on Twitter with the caption “He once stood on the mound at Dodger Stadium, just because he could.”

Westgarth and Kings also appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. When Kimmel asked the team who was most likely to damage the cup, all fingers pointed to Westgarth, where he was able to give his hometown a national shout out.

“That was a lot of fun,” he laughed. “He wasn’t really asking anything to one guy and nobody wanted to say anything. I was pretty happy to give the old hometown a bit of a shout out, I think it deserved it after all those years.”

Westgarth admits there were times he felt frustrated that he wasn’t on the ice, however he said his teammates never made him feel like he wasn’t part of the team.

“It hurt not being able to be on the ice with them to contribute but they never wrote me off, I was always part of the journey,” he said.

He called Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick an “amazing goalie” who is a good friend and teammate.

“That guy never ceases to amazing me,” Westgarth said of his teammate.

Westgarth has a busy summer a head of him, along with a many Stanley Cup parties he will be attending, Westgarth and wife Maegan have five weddings to attend. Westgarth will also be attending the collective bargaining negotiations, as he is the Kings NHLPA representative.

As to when Westgarth is bringing the cup to Amherstburg, that is unknown. Westgarth said the itinerary is being worked out as we speak and should be sent out to players in the next few weeks.

For now, Westgarth said he is going to enjoy life as a Stanley Cup champion.

“Sometimes I’ll sit back and it will hit me, I’m a Stanley Cup champion, it’s a pretty cool feeling,” he said.

Comments are closed.