Chronicles of Stanley: Willie Mitchell’s ‘top of the world’ moment in Port McNeill

Harrison Mooney
August 13, 2012

The Chronicles of Stanley is an occasional series this summer that tracks the Los Angeles Kings as they each get their special alone time with the Stanley Cup.

Images like the one above are actually pretty standard takeaways from any hockey player's day with the Cup. At some point during the day, they go to a hilltop, rooftop, lake, or mountainside -- the most sublime place near where they grew up, typically -- and they hoist the Cup and pose for a picture. It's a trope.

But that doesn't make it any less breathtaking when you see a photo like this one, with Willie Mitchell holding the Cup high atop Vancouver Island's Mount Waddington.

The photo is taken from a camera mounted on a helicopter, to celebrate what Mitchell called his "top of the world achievement."

Sunday was Mitchell's day with the Cup, and he didn't just take it to the top of a mountain by himself. He also shared it with the community in his hometown of Port McNeill at the The Port McNeill Regional Arena. From the Vancouver Sun:

"I told you it was coming and it's here," Mitchell told the thousands of people who gathered to see it, referring to a speech he made just after he helped the L.A. Kings win game six of the championship series versus the New Jersey Devils.

"This is a real special day for me and my family," the 35-year-old defenceman said, fighting back tears as he talked about the hours he spent practising at the arena.

It was a special day for everyone. As Mitchell explains, Port McNeill is a town of 2,500 people, and when you're that small, the whole town is a family:

But there were some extended family there as well; 6,000 people came to see the Cup in Port McNeill.

It makes sense that it might draw a larger crowd. As Glenn Moore, the city's vice president of minor hockey, said, it was "probably the biggest thing since indoor plumbing."