ITHACA, N.Y. -- Only one American born hockey player has been the captain of a Stanley Cup winning team twice. It just so happens that that person was born in Ithaca. Dustin Brown, captain of the NHL Champion Los Angeles Kings was back home Saturday and brought the world's most famous trophy with him. And there were thousands of people there to say hello.
"You dream of winning the Stanley Cup once, but to do it twice is pretty amazing," Brown said.
When Dustin Brown walked into the Cass Park Rink Saturday, Stanley Cup in hand, thousands of people were waiting to greet him.
"It's pretty awesome to see this many people considering we just announced it a couple of days ago. It seems like there's more people here than last time and there was a month to plan for last time," the LA Kings Captain said.
A couple days was more than enough time though for young Finnegan O'Brien. He talked his dad into getting to the rink at 5:30 Saturday morning. That was four hours before either Dustin or the cup got there. He was first in line.
"I'm a huge fan of Dustin Brown. It was once-in-a-lifetime," Finnegan said right after he touched and got a picture with the Stanley Cup.
"He was up before me this morning. He's a diehard hockey player at his age and he watched all the Stanley Cup games and all excited that Dustin Brown is from Ithaca," Finnegan's dad Sean said.
"This might be the best day of my life," Finnegan said.
And this best day, is also now an official day. Ithaca's Mayor naming July 5, Dustin Brown Day in Ithaca.
"We're not all going to win the Stanley Cup but we've got kids here who are going to excel at something in life," Svante Myrick said. "To see such a physical representation of what that excellence can get you, it's pretty amazing."
The kids, and even the big kids celebrating that excellence. Everyone waiting in that line at Cass Park Rink to get up next to the cup, get a picture and just enjoy the moment that they and Dustin are sharing together.
"It's fun. Everybody recognizes it," Kings Fan and Williamsport native Duane Martzall said. "The picture is in my office from two years ago. I'm looking to add another one to it."
"I remember when Mr. Brown was drafted," James Buckley, an Ithaca native who flew in from Los Angeles last night said. "I was very excited and it's worked out pretty well for a team that's had a lot of troubles through the years. I'm a lifelong Kings fan."
"To know that all the team members held it in their hands after they won, that's exciting to know we touched it too," Kings fan Pam Martzall added.
"I remember being down here at 6 in the morning on Mondays and Wednesdays from the time I was about 7 until 14. I made a lot of memories in this building," Brown said, while joking that he also didn't mind the fact he'd get to rub it in a bit to the Rangers fans who showed up.
And the Kings only lose one player off its main roster next season. So there's a very good chance this team could make a deep playoff run next year and that mean's its certainly possible to see the Stanley Cup back in Ithaca very soon.
There was a $5 donation requested from those who got a picture with the Stanley Cup.
People could also buy photos signed by Dustin and raffle tickets for other prizes. The proceeds are going to the Ithaca YMCA playground project and for the future of the Cass Park Rink.