By Lethbridge Herald on June 18, 2015.
In the past two weeks, Kris Versteeg has hoisted both his newborn son and the Stanley Cup.
Safe to say the Lethbridge native has had a great month of June thus far.
Jaxson James Versteeg, the first child for Versteeg and his wife, Brittany, was born June 2 in Toronto. Then on Monday night, in front of home fans in Chicago, he won his second Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks.
“It’s been some pretty crazy events in my life,” said Versteeg, speaking on the phone Wednesday afternoon from Chicago. “I’ve been really blessed the last few weeks, especially. It’s been a great time.”
A photo posted by the NHL late Monday night of Versteeg holding 13-day-old Jaxson inside the Stanley Cup was shown on “Good Morning America,” and has been re-posted all over the Internet in the days since.
“It was the first game he was ever at, and obviously it’s pretty amazing that he’s never going to remember it,” Versteeg said. “But he can look back on this one day and realize how lucky he was. And I can realize how lucky I am to have him there with me.”
Versteeg, who turned 29 last month, was part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run, but he was not re-signed afterwards due to salary cap restrictions. He then played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers before being traded back to Chicago during the 2013/14 season.
“A lot is different, but at the same time it’s kind of like deja vu; the whole spectacle that comes with it,” he said of the 2014/15 Stanley Cup team.
“The whole experience of winning is obviously a bit different: winning on the road (in 2010 over Philadelphia) and winning at home. I’m pretty fortunate to have experienced both,” Versteeg continued.
“I’ve always wanted just to win one cup. And now to be able to win two — you really can’t put it into words. It’s slowly sinking in. And that’s what it’s all about, is really lifting that cup and lifting it with the name on the back that your family gave you. It’s about being there with your family and enjoying the whole time together.”
In addition to his wife and son, Versteeg’s brothers, Mitch and Bryce, and his mother Marilyn Rosner, were in attendance Monday, and they all went on the United Center ice for photos after the game.
The official Stanley Cup parade will take place in Chicago today, while both the team and the trophy already have a number of commitments and appearances booked. But dates will soon be set for each player’s turn with the cup. “I believe I will be bringing it back to Lethbridge again,” said Versteeg, who brought it home following the 2010 win.
Sharing the experience with former Lethbridge Hurricanes teammate Brent Seabrook was another bonus, he added.
“Seabs and me have obviously known each other for quite a long time and we’ve been teammates for quite a long time, too, so it’s very special,” Versteeg said. “He’s an extremely proud guy and he’s very proud about playing in Lethbridge. We talk about it all the time.”
The upcoming 2015-16 season will be the final year of Versteeg’s current four-year contract. As such, especially after 2010, he knows to savour every moment right now.
“You never know when you’re ever going to get this opportunity again,” Versteeg said.
“I said that the first time, too. I never truly knew I would get the opportunity again. This is something that not many players get to experience, so you’ve got to soak it all in.”
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