Stan­ley Cup pays visit to P.E.I.

Char­lot­te­town na­tive Andy O’Brien of the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins shares his day with the Stan­ley Cup

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - dave.ste­wart@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart BY DAVE STE­WART

Mem­bers of the North River Fire De­part­ment get their pic­ture taken with the Stan­ley Cup on Tues­day at Is­land Hill Farm in War­ren Grove. Andy O’Brien, di­rec­tor of sports sci­ence and per­for­mance with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins (pic­tured with his arm around the Cup) de­cided to spend part of his day with the tro­phy with ath­letes from P.E.I. Spe­cial Olympics at the farm, which is co-owned by his cousin, Flory San­der­son.

Char­lot­te­town na­tive Andy O’Brien knew when he brought the Stan­ley Cup to P.E.I. this sum­mer he wanted to do some­thing spe­cial with it.

So, the di­rec­tor of sports sci­ence and per­for­mance with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins ar­ranged to spend a few hours on Tues­day with the Sum­mer­side Boys and Girls Club and ath­letes and fam­ily associated with Spe­cial Olympics P.E.I. at Is­land Hill Farm in War­ren Grove, co-owned by his cousin, Flory San­der­son.

“I think I had done an event a few years back with Spe­cial Olympics and I thought it was a great or­ga­ni­za­tion and (I was) just re­ally in­spired by those ath­letes in all that they’ve done to over­come,’’ O’Brien told The Guardian af­ter about 55 ath­letes and count­less fam­ily mem­bers all had their pic­ture taken with O’Brien and the Cup.

“I wanted to share the Cup with one of the lo­cal char­i­ties and thought that would be a great one.’’

The ges­ture went over well with P.E.I.’s Spe­cial Olympians.

“I felt happy that I got to see the Stan­ley Cup,’’ said Mor­gan Lubliek, who com­petes in bowl­ing, bocce ball, bas­ket­ball and swim­ming.

O’Brien, en­joy­ing his sec­ond Cup with the Pen­guins, also took the tro­phy over to An­drews Hockey school in Char­lot­te­town and to the An­drews Lodge se­nior’s home.

The idea of bring­ing the Cup to Is­land Hill Farm started min­utes af­ter the Pen­guins won the Na­tional Hockey League’s sto­ried tro­phy.

“We sent him a pic­ture of a ta­ble his grand­fa­ther had given us as a wed­ding present and said the Cup would look fan­tas­tic on it,’’ San­der­son said. “An­drew came out for a visit and said ‘yes, we’ll do this and in­vite the Spe­cial Olympics to come and join us’.’’

The Sum­mer­side Boys and Girls Club was al­ready booked in for a visit to the farm. While San­der­son closed the farm to the pub­lic for a cou­ple of hours on Tues­day, she hon­oured the club’s visit but didn’t tell them there was go­ing to be a spe­cial guest there.

“They had no idea, so it was a nice sur­prise for them,’’ she said.

O’Brien’s day with the Cup started when he re­ceived it at his par­ent’s cot­tage in Stan­hope.

“I wish I could bring it around to ev­ery­body, but it’s such a short day. You have to make the most of it.’’

It goes with­out say­ing O’Brien would love to re­turn with the Stan­ley Cup a year from now.

“I’ve had sev­eral play­ers tell me that when they win it, it just re­in­forces them want­ing to win it again. Hav­ing been a part of that and see­ing what it means to the play­ers on the team, the fam­i­lies and peo­ple in the com­mu­nity — it def­i­nitely in­spires you to keep go­ing, so hope­fully (the Pen­guins) can build on what we’ve done here the last cou­ple of years.’’

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

P.E.I. Spe­cial Olympics ath­lete Mor­gan Lubliek, left, of Taran­tum poses with the Stan­ley Cup on Tues­day at Is­land Hill Farm in War­ren Grove. Andy O’Brien, di­rec­tor of sports sci­ence and per­for­mance with the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins, said his goal was to share his day with the Cup with at least one char­ity.

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