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Ontario hockey players are now Stanley Cup champions


The Florida Panthers made NHL history on Monday night.

In front of more than 19,000 fans, the team beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in Game 7 and won the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup.

It was also a moment two local players – Brandon Montour, the 30-year-old Panthers defenceman from Six Nations of the Grand River, and Steven Lorentz, the 28-year-old Panthers centre from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. – will never forget.

Montour said he can’t wait to bring the Stanley Cup back to Six Nations.

"Be ready for it to come home," he said after Monday's win. "The support I've had my whole life... obviously this team, but [also] my family, my friends, everybody back home. We're going to enjoy this for the summer, then do it all over again."

Hundreds of fans, as well as Montour's family, have been gathering at the local community hall to cheer on their hometown hero throughout the final.

“I’m very proud of him,” Montour’s aunt Jamie previously told CTV News.

Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, center, lifts the Stanley Cup trophy after Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers, Monday, June 24, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers defeated the Oilers 2-1. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Lorentz’s family, meanwhile, watched Game 7 at home.

“We’re so proud, so incredibly proud,” his father Mark Lorentz said the day after Florida’s big win.

Road to the Stanley Cup

Steven Lorentz’s journey to the Stanley Cup began with a phone call almost exactly one year ago.

“We were at a cottage up north, down by the dock, and his phone was going off,” recalled Mark Lorentz.

That moment, on Canada Day 2023, is when Lorentz learned he’d been traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Florida Panthers.

“He goes: ‘I’m going to Florida. I’m going to Florida and we’re going to win the cup.’”

Steven Lorentz pictured wearing a Florida Panthers jersey. (Courtesy: NHL)

Lorentz said that promise made the Panthers’ playoff run feel like destiny, especially when Florida took a 3-0 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers.

With only one win standing in the way of the Stanley Cup, the Lorentz family joined the team in Edmonton for Game 4 and then to Sunrise, Florida for Game 5.

Sadly for them, the team had back-to-back losses, narrowing the Panthers’ lead to 3-2.

So the team decided to make a change off the ice.

“The coach and some of the staff said 'we’d kind of like it if you’d stay away for a while because it’s a bit of a distraction for the players,'” Mark Lorentz explained. “So we came back home.”

The family returned to Waterloo, Ont. where they gathered to watch Game 7.

One win away

The Lorentz family were on the edge of their seats going into the third period of Game 7.

“I’ll tell you, that third period – my fingernails are a whole lot shorter as a result,” Mark Lorentz joked to Bounce 99.5 radio host Angie Hill on Tuesday morning.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a save in front of Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) and Florida defenceman Brandon Montour (62) during third period game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals in Sunrise, Fla., on Monday, June 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

At that point, the Panthers had a 2-1 lead.

“The last 20 minutes were probably the 20 longest minutes of our lives,” Mark Lorentz recalled. “When it was down to 10 seconds, I was like ‘oh-oh’ because they were pressing hard and, all of a sudden, it was zero.”

Then, the moment family – and fans – were waiting to hear.

“The Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup!”

Steven Lorentz’s dream has now come true and his name will be etched onto Lord Stanley’s mug.

“[It’s] something I’ve dreamed of since I picked up a stick and skates and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment right now,” he said. “Mom and Dad are back home. They were playing ping pong, going back and forth with coming down here [and] then going back to Edmonton.”

Despite being 2,300 kilometres away, father and son were able to celebrate the big moment together.

“Stevie’s fiancé, she FaceTimed me. They brought the cup right to me. That was something,” Mark Lorentz explained. “He’s got a beer in his left hand and his phone in his right hand… He took me out on the ice because I didn’t get to go out on the ice.”

“He never gave up”

The Stanley Cup win was the result of years of hard work.

“One thing I’ll say about Stevie is, from early on, we knew he was going to do one thing, and that was play hockey. It’s all he wanted to do and it wasn’t an easy path. If you look at his journey, it’s been long. There’s been ups, there have been downs and stuff like that, but he never gave up. He always believed. [Monday] night was kind of like the culmination of all that.”

Steven Lorentz pictured when he played for the Waterloo Wolves. (Courtesy: Waterloo Wolves)

All of it boils down to one thing.

“We’re so proud,” Mark Lorentz said. “So incredibly proud.”

Another local Stanley Cup star

Adam Henrique, the 34-year-old centre for the Edmonton Oilers, may have missed out on the Stanley Cup but he has made his hometown of Burford, Ont. proud.

Edmonton Oilers' Adam Henrique (19) celebrates his goal during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final against the Florida Panthers in Edmonton, Friday, June 21, 2024. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

The small community, just west of Brantford, showed their support by flying bright orange flags ahead of the final NHL series.

An Edmonton Oilers flag flies outside of the Burford Community Centre ahead of Monday night's Stanley Cup game on June 24, 2024. (Shelby Knox/CTV News) Top Stories

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