STILLWATER — Despite the lull in hockey news during the summer, the ice arena at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater was packed to the brim in celebration July 22.
Stillwater native Mitch Reinke, member of the NHL champion St. Louis Blues, was welcomed home for a ceremony and photo opportunity with the Stanley Cup in tow. Numerous city officials joined Reinke on the ice to honor his accomplishments, and community members and fans formed a line to get a personal chance for a picture with Reinke and the Cup.
“I feel really blessed to bring it (the Cup) back to Stillwater, and I hope you guys enjoy this!” Reinke said when introduced.
Reinke graduated from Stillwater Area High School in 2014. He did not touch the ice for the Blues in the playoffs but was a member of the “Black Aces,” the group of minor league players from the San Antonio Rampage that was selected to practice and travel with the big club in the postseason. Reinke wasn't sure he'd get a day with the Stanley Cup (as is regular for every member of the championship team each year) as he never actually played in a playoff game.
“As someone in my position, I wasn't sure what to expect,” he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I get a half-day with it, and I feel very fortunate for that.”
Youth hockey players were invited to take a group photo with Reinke after the event.