10/10/06 — Hundreds flock to City Hall to view the Stanley Cup

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Hundreds flock to City Hall to view the Stanley Cup

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 10, 2006 2:26 PM

At Goldsboro City Hall around 7:45 p.m., the line was wrapped around the building and down Mulberry Street.

The Stanley Cup was in town.

And Wayne County, the Carolina Hurricanes' eighth largest out-of-town ticket market, didn't want to miss out on the rare opportunity to see the oldest trophy in sports.

"Just knowing its been around since the start of hockey ... now it's in Goldsboro. It's pretty exciting," said Justin Rogers, a sophomore at Eastern Wayne. "This isn't really a hockey town or a hockey state. This is a very good turnout for a southern team."

Each fan or group of fans were allowed one picture each with the trophy as a member of the Hurricanes staff and Mike Bolt, one of three "Keeper's of the Cup," kept the line moving and answered their fair share of questions.

"This is very special. That trophy is the ultimate trophy in all of sports," said Goldsboro native Charles Gurley. "It's not every day you get to see something like that. I was very shocked when I found out it was coming to Goldsboro."

Carolina's mascot, Stormy, also made the trip and kept the younger Caniacs entertained.

The process of bringing the Cup to Goldsboro started about two weeks ago, according to Julie Thompson, the Executive Director of the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation. She said her schedule is often laid out months in advance, but the impromptu event was a no-brainer.

"When I heard Rocky Mount and Greenville were doing it, I couldn't let us be one-upped," she said. "When we put the brief in the newspaper a few weeks ago, our phones started ringing off the hook.

"So, we started getting a good idea then that we would have a good turnout."

Goldsboro was the seventh city in four days to see the Cup, which is on the road approximately 250 days per year. The Cup made two stops in Rocky Mount and two in Greenville on Monday before coming to City Hall. The 35-pound trophy is headed to Fort Bragg today.

"I've been doing this for seven years, and I've probably been in every major city in North America," Bolt said. "I love coming to smaller towns. You can see the enthusiasm more. It's good to see all these Canes fans, and it's a great turnout. The fans were patient.

"That's what the cup is all about ... it's a people-friendly trophy."

Mayor Al King was impressed with the turnout of the event.

"Look at the line of people that are here already," he said of crowd that had formed over an hour before the Cup arrived. "But if you follow sports and saw what the Hurricanes did last year, you can understand how people get so into it."

"Wherever the Cup goes, you're going to have people."

It's very early, but the prospects of the Cup making its rounds across the state next year aren't looking good thus far as Carolina is 0-2 and has been outscored 12-4 in its first two games.

"We need to make a trade. There doesn't seem to be any chemistry on our lines right now," Rogers said to his friend Brad Jenkins as they waited for the Cup to arrive.

At least for one night, Goldsboro looked and sounded like a hockey town.