He may not have played a single playoff game, but the St. Louis Blues leaders let Chris Thorburn be the fourth player to hoist the cup as part of the traditional hand off where each individual player gets their special moment to hold up hockey’s greatest trophy as the Blues knocked off the Boston Bruins 4-1 in game 7 in Boston Wednesday night.
Thorburn, is the last North Bay Centennial still playing in the National Hockey League. He toiled in the minors this past season playing 40 games for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Meantime his family stayed in St. Louis, where his family found a great school for his son Bennett who is autistic.
The veteran forward was disappointed, as he only got into one NHL game during an October call-up.
He did get some great news in late April when he was called up to the Blues at the end of the regular season and a promise from the organization that he would stay with the team as a “black ace” for the Blues run through the Stanley Cup playoffs.
See related from NHL.com: Thorburn to join Blues for the remainder of the season
"Obviously the year didn't go the way he had hoped, but he's had a really strong career and he's a high-character person that I know our players will be excited to have around," Armstrong said of Thorburn prior to the start of the Blues memorable playoff run.
"We're glad he can come up and experience the playoffs with us. He's part of our team now, so he will be part of our group. It's up to the coach whether he plays or not, but he's been a really good soldier for us this year in working with our American League guys, and he will be a really positive influence in our room."
Despite spending so much of the season with the AHL affiliate team, Thorburn was still paying close attention to the Blues turnaround.
"It's crazy. I've been paying real close attention, especially early on when things weren't going well when I talked with the guys," Thorburn said back in April.
"I was one of the most excited guys in the summer when Army made all those moves to bring in guys like (Ryan) O'Reilly and (Tyler) Bozak. It was just a matter of time before the team got going. When you bring that many new faces into a locker room, it's going to take some time to gel and figure out who they are. Man, since they've figured that out, there was no looking back. These guys are on fire, they're fun to watch and I'm excited to be part of it."
The last North Bay Centennial to hoist the Stanley Cup was Derian Hatcher, who was the captain of the Dallas Stars when they captured the Cup back in 1999.
Of course Thorburn isn't the only North Bay connection to the Blues, who won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history Wednesday night.
See related: Lots of Blues connections to North Bay
Local Blues alums include Larry Keenan, Darren Turcotte, Bill Houlder, Ken Richardson, Gordon Kannegiesser, and Steve McLaren.