Dustin Byfuglien was often an interesting combination of talents who never seemed to consistently equal the sum of all of his parts until he exploded onto the playoff scene this year. Once he heated up by making life miserable as a gigantic, goalie-eclipsing answer to Tomas Holmstrom, it was clear that Big Buff could handle the shoves and whacks that come with those battles in the crease.
But handling the emotional impact of sharing his Stanley Cup victory with 2,000 fans (and friends) from his hometown? That proved to be a bit too much for “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer.” Here’s the story from the Grand Forks Herald.
“I want to thank you all for coming out,” Byfuglien said, his voice cracking.
He then put down the microphone, turned away from the audience in Memorial Arena and let the tears flow. He tried for a few moments to compose himself, then gave up and continued with tears in his eye.
“This means a lot to me,” he said. “I worked hard to bring it back to you. I hope you guys enjoy it.”
Many in the crowd also teared up during the day’s most touching moment. The others started chanting “Big Buff” at their hometown hero, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win hockey’s biggest prize in June.
For some reason, stories of seemingly macho players getting “verklempt” never really gets old.
According to the story, Byfuglien was supposed to stay to sign autographs until 5 p.m. that day but instead remained an extra hour so everyone could get a photo with the Cup. It was the first time it made its way to Roseau County, as the only other resident to win it was Neal Broten in 1995, who chose to celebrate at his Wisconsin farm instead.
Byfuglien’s days with the Chicago Blackhawks might become a faded memory, but his victory won’t be forgotten among his hometown friends and family anytime soon.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)