Over 2,000 people flooded the streets of Sexsmith Sunday as Pittsburgh Penguins forward Carter Rowney paraded the Stanley Cup through his hometown.
Rowney, a former member of the Grande Prairie Storm, was presented with the ‘Key to the Town’, posed for countless pictures with fans and signed hundreds, if not thousands of autographs.
“It’s been pretty crazy, it’s pretty surreal,” said Rowney. “That welcoming I got when I got off the bus, that’s cool. And that makes it more special, and I’m just going to cherish it.”
Things went off without a hitch. Rain held off just long enough, as it started to come down almost the moment the parade wrapped up.
“Carter was really gracious. He stopped on the parade route, took some pictures with people,” Claude Legace said, Mayor of the Town of Sexsmith. “We actually had a reporter here from Pittsburgh. We talked to him all week, and he was pretty enthused to be here.”
When asked, County of Grande Prairie Councillor Corey Beck, who represents Division 9 and Sexsmith, had nothing but praise for the Penguins forward.
“I had a chance at Teepee [Creek] Stampede to spend a little time watching Carter and how he interacted with his old teammates, his old friends, his high school buddies. Everybody just has a level of pride, because we have a local boy who was able to go out and accomplish what so many want to, and dream when they walk into an arena, but never get a chance to do.”
Beck adds when he spoke with Rowney about his day with the Cup, there was “no doubt” it would be coming home to Sexsmith.
Clinton Froehlick, parade organizer and Sexsmith Arena Manager, says there were sleepless nights with how much work went into this, but he would do it all again.
“My wife jokingly said is this day better than when we got married, or when we had kids? You know, no comment, so to speak. You don’t know what the right answer is. It’s definitely high up there on the things that I’ve done.”
Beck, Legace and Froehlick were all in agreeance Sunday was one of the biggest day’s in the history of Sexsmith.
Beck added it was the real Stanley Cup, and not a replica.