Stanley Cup takes Toronto subway ride to surprise and delight of commuters

TORONTO — As Danesh Mohiuddin stepped on to Toronto's subway to take his daughter to daycare, he did a double take.

The Stanley Cup and former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle were on the same TTC car as him.

"I was surprised that it was actual real Stanley Cup," said Mohiuddin after having a photo taken of him and his daughter with the storied trophy and Kaberle. "I think that was the biggest surprise, really."

The Stanley Cup took the subway from midtown Toronto to the city's downtown core on Monday to promote the upcoming NHL All-Star Game. Mohiuddin had a Hockey Hall of Fame scarf draped over the back of his daughter's stroller and was still processing the special moment he shared with her.

"She doesn't quite understand what's happening right now, but I'll show her in a few years and she'll be like 'Oh, that was Stanley Cup and we went on train with it going southbound.'

"This is amazing. I feel this lucky, to be honest."

Kaberle played 14 years in the NHL, including more than a decade with the Maple Leafs, and still lives in Toronto. He said he hadn't touched the Cup since he had a day with it in his native Czechia after winning it with the Boston Bruins in 2011. Kaberle also played for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens.

A red carpet had been laid out on the salty platform of Davisville Station where the Cup rested and Kaberle got down on one knee to find his name on the trophy before hoisting it up and carrying it on to the train.

Kaberle noted that it was heavier, and colder, than he remembered.

"Because we live in Canada," said Kaberle, standing on an outdoor subway platform in -2C weather. "But this is amazing, right? The last time I held it was 2011.

"So it's nice to see the Cup again and hopefully, a Canadian team wins it this time."

The trip, arranged by NHL All-Star Game sponsor Rogers, began its journey in midtown. With Kaberle and keeper of the Cup Phil Pritchard escorting the trophy, the train made its way to Union Station, where it was welcomed by Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow.

"Surprise!" said Chow, with people lining up behind her to get a photo with the Cup and an autographed card from Kaberle. "People just go 'whoa, this is this is the Stanley Cup? In Toronto? In Union Station? Wow.'"

Scotiabank Arena will host the All-Star Game on Feb. 3. Kaberle said that he was excited for the hockey showcase to return to Toronto for the first time since 2000.

"What's amazing is that we're going to see the best players competing, having a good time at the same time," said Kaberle. "I think it's going to be exciting for a lot of kids especially, and all the hockey world.

"It's going to bring a lot of people in to the city."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2024.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press