Oshie carries the Stanley Cup around Warroad
WARROAD, Minn.—T.J. Oshie carried the Stanley Cup off a private jet at Warroad Airport on Tuesday morning, July 24.
Oshie climbed in the back of a 1933 Lincoln convertible with his wife, Lauren, and their two young daughters, Lyla and Leni.
The car was once used by former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt while campaigning in Michigan.
For this town, it may as well have been a presidential visit.
And for this town, the only person working in Washington, D.C., who can bring this kind of fanfare is Oshie.
The former Warroad High School and UND star forward brought hockey's greatest prize back to the town where he says he fell in love with the sport.
Swarming crowds greeted him everywhere he stopped—from The Gardens to the iconic water tower to Main Street Bar and Grill to Izzy's Lounge.
"It's a really special place for me," Oshie said after taking pictures with every Warroad youth hockey team. "It's a special place to play hockey. It's a special place for my family. I really wanted to come here and share it with the kids and Warroad."
Warroad Mayor Bob Marvin, who supplied the classic vehicle and rode in the front passenger seat, declared July 24 as "T.J. Oshie Day" in Warroad.
Oshie was in Warroad for roughly two and a half hours before departing on a private jet for the Twin Cities, where he plans to bring it to his training facility and to a private party for family and friends.
His time in Warroad started at about 9:45 a.m., when two private planes landed a few minutes apart.
One of the special guests on his first plane was Oshie's father, Tim, who moved with T.J. from the Seattle area to Warroad as a high school sophomore to give him an opportunity to have more ice time.
"It's a very emotional day," Tim said, "with T.J. here and hoisting that Cup."
Another special guest was Warroad hockey legend Henry Boucha, who won an Olympic silver medal in 1972 and played in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.
Boucha, Tim's cousin and T.J.'s second cousin, helped inspire T.J.'s move to Warroad. Oshie even recalled a sleepless night in which he snuck out of the house at 4 a.m. to skate on Boucha's homemade rink for two hours.
"It's just overwhelming," Boucha said, "to top it off like this."
Oshie's immediate family, the Stanley Cup and the NHL's keeper of the Cup, Mike Bolt, were on the second, smaller jet plane.
Their first stop on the tour of Warroad was The Gardens Arena, where roughly 2,500 people packed in to see Oshie and the Cup. While Warroad has produced Mr. and Ms. Hockey winners, boys and girls state champions, NHL players and four Olympic gold medalists, nobody from the town had ever won the Stanley Cup.
"This was a lot bigger than I was expecting," Oshie said. "We hadn't even taken off (in Minneapolis) yet and we already heard The Gardens were getting full. This was really, truly an amazing turnout. I'm very thankful everyone came out to celebrate with us."
A short video showing Oshie's highlights—including his diving assist to Aaron Marvin to give Warroad the 2005 state championship in overtime and a pair of dazzling goals from his UND days—opened the program that was emceed by Warroad native Jess Myers.
Oshie then spoke about his three high school years in town.
"I've always liked hockey, since the first game my dad brought me to in Seattle," Oshie said. "But I didn't fall in love with hockey until my first time in Warroad."
Oshie talked about his former coaches and teammates. He remembered all of the time he spent on the ice—whether it was games at The Gardens, practices at Olympic Arena, Copper King sessions on Sunday nights or outdoor skates at Boucha's.
Tour around town
Then, Oshie took the Cup around Warroad for photo opportunities.
He first walked it to Olympic Arena, where there's a mural of his great uncle, Max Oshie, Warroad's first superstar hockey player. Oshie lifted the trophy high over his head below Max's mural.
Then, he got back in the 1933 Lincoln convertible and drove through downtown, where fans lined the side of the street and cheered. Oshie may have even felt a bit like Roosevelt in the 1930s; one fan held a sign that said "Oshie for President."
The next stop was in front of the iconic water tower painted with two hockey sticks.
Police blocked traffic on Minnesota Highway 11 in front of the water tower so Oshie could take a photo with high school classmate Gigi Marvin. Oshie was holding the Stanley Cup; Marvin was holding her 2018 Olympic gold medal.
Oshie and Marvin were Warroad High School Frosty Festival king and queen together in 2005 and they re-created their photo.
Then, Oshie took it down to The Point, where he carried it on the dock with his family for a photo with Lake of the Woods in the background.
The next stop was at Main Street Bar and Grill, owned by Steve Bengtson, the father of T.J.'s classmate Ben.
Then, the caravan stopped at Izzy's Lounge, where Oshie poured a beer in the Cup and let a few fans take drinks, including former UND players David, Lisa and Layla Marvin.
His last stop was at The Shed, which hosts Bob Marvin's car collection.
Oshie returned to Warroad at about 12:15 p.m., and took off for the Cities.
"It was always my dream as a kid to win the Stanley Cup," Oshie said. "There's nothing like it. There's no feeling like raising it above your head."
Especially in the town Oshie learned to love hockey.