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.
â€œItâ€™s been some pretty crazy events in my life,â€ said Versteeg, speaking on the phone Wednesday afternoon from Chicago. â€œIâ€™ve been really blessed the last few weeks, especially. Itâ€™s been a great time.â€
A photo posted by the NHL late Monday night of Versteeg holding 13-day-old Jaxson inside the Stanley Cup was shown on â€œGood Morning America,â€ and has been re-posted all over the Internet in the days since.
â€œIt was the first game he was ever at, and obviously itâ€™s pretty amazing that heâ€™s never going to remember it,â€ Versteeg said. â€œBut 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.â€
Versteeg, who turned 29 last month, was part of the Blackhawksâ€™ 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.
â€œA lot is different, but at the same time itâ€™s kind of like deja vu; the whole spectacle that comes with it,â€ he said of the 2014/15 Stanley Cup team.
â€œThe whole experience of winning is obviously a bit different: winning on the road (in 2010 over Philadelphia) and winning at home. Iâ€™m pretty fortunate to have experienced both,â€ Versteeg continued.
â€œIâ€™ve always wanted just to win one cup. And now to be able to win two â€” you really canâ€™t put it into words. Itâ€™s slowly sinking in. And thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about, is really lifting that cup and lifting it with the name on the back that your family gave you. Itâ€™s about being there with your family and enjoying the whole time together.â€
In addition to his wife and son, Versteegâ€™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 playerâ€™s turn with the cup. â€œI believe I will be bringing it back to Lethbridge again,â€ 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.
â€œSeabs and me have obviously known each other for quite a long time and weâ€™ve been teammates for quite a long time, too, so itâ€™s very special,â€ Versteeg said. â€œHeâ€™s an extremely proud guy and heâ€™s very proud about playing in Lethbridge. We talk about it all the time.â€
The upcoming 2015-16 season will be the final year of Versteegâ€™s current four-year contract. As such, especially after 2010, he knows to savour every moment right now.
â€œYou never know when youâ€™re ever going to get this opportunity again,â€ Versteeg said.
â€œI 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 youâ€™ve got to soak it all in.â€