Starion Sports Complex in Mandan was lined with people on Monday waiting for just a couple of seconds to spend next to one of the most iconic trophies in sports, the Stanley Cup.
Winning the Stanley Cup is a moment that won’t be forgotten by many, but especially not Mandan native Casey Bond, the head strength and conditioning coach for the Colorado Avalanche for the past ten seasons.
“All of a sudden there’s two minutes left and it looks like we’re going to win,” Bond said. “It counts down and then it is surreal. you run out on the ice and everybody’s going crazy, but it takes a long time to set in.”
Bond has had two and a half months for it to set in, but all he wanted was a chance to bring the cup home. An opportunity that came through at the last second, but will be cherished forever
“People have been asking how many times it’s been to North Dakota — I know it’s been to Grand Forks once,” Bond explained. “I don’t know beyond that. It’s such a huge deal, and anybody that grows up playing this sport it’s a dream. It’s a dream come true for me to just be a small part of it, but then to be able to have a day with it and bring it and share it here — this is home. This is where I’m from.”
Bond says the moments spent with his family during this time have been the most important, with many traveling several states to see him carry the cup.
“We’re on the ice celebrating and the coolest part then was when they finally let the wives come down,” Bond said. “Our wives could come on the ice and just spend that time after the game. That was when it really started to set it.”
For the people of North Dakota both old and young alike it’s an opportunity to celebrate an achievement of their own, and strive for something of their own.
“It just brings a notoriety to the game of hockey in this region, which doesn’t happen very often,” Mandan Hockey Club President said. “We’re going to take advantage of it while we can you know.”
Bond and his family spent several hours with family, friends and fans at Starion Sports Complex, but perhaps one of the most special moments was the time he got to spend taking the cup to his late father’s gravesite. That’s something Casey simply called, “special.”