Viking. Alberta. Canada. Stanley. Cup.

No music. No introduction. No criss-crossing spotlights. No confetti gun.

And certainly no smoke.

He just walked in. Carrying the Stanley Cup. While two Mounties in red serge watched, the people in the hall clapped politely. And then waited. What do we do next?

He put the trophy on a table in front of a printed sign that congratulated him for winning the Cup, and then he motioned for people to line up, come forward. And they lined up.

He was Darryl Sutter, the coach of the Los Angeles Kings, one of the favourite sons of Viking, and what he walked into was the Viking Community Hall. And what it all was was a great Canadian moment.

Five bucks got you a picture with the coach and the Cup. The money went to Viking minor hockey. The line of fans curled around the hall and out the door.

When we got to the front of the line, and it was our turn to get a photo taken, he was the first to speak.

"Hi, I'm Darryl, thanks for comin'," he said to Shelagh. "You must be tired standing here all day," she said. "Thanks for having us."

I shook his hand and said what I wanted to say.

"We drove here from Edmonton to say congratulations and thanks for saying you were from Viking, Alberta, Canada," I said. On the CBC broadcast just after the Kings won the Cup viewers saw and heard each member of the team say where they were from. Sutter said: Viking. Alberta. Canada.

"Well, that's important," he said to me.

We were there with Dub, his boy Cohen (who we call the Wide-Eyed Champ),  and his dad, and with Kobes and his son, Jaxson. Dub's dad is from Viking and he knows Sutter. It was a thrill to be close enough to hear the sound of Sutter slapping Bob on the back. "Good to see you," he said.

We stopped at the Burger Queen on the way home for cheeseburgers and beer and a milkshake.

The woman who took our order said she had to work all day or else she would have lined up for a photo.

"It doesn't mean as much to me," she said. "But my daughter! She is there!"

She went on to tell us that Darryl is a great guy and drops into the kitchen whenever he comes by.

"He still helps on the farm here," she said.


Yes, it took a Viking farmer to bring a year of reign to southern California.

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