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Stanley Cup could return to Essex-County soon

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Dave and Lisa Ekblad have been to every Stanley Cup Finals game this spring.

“It's certainly surreal and still don't believe it,” Dave told CTV News.

The Florida Panthers are a win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, and their son Aaron is helping lead the way.

“You're always on pins and needles and, you know, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. We have flights booked back for game five in Florida,” Dave said.

St. Louis assistant coach Steve Ott brought Lord Stanley's cup to Essex County in 2019.

“We incorporated a wonderful ceremony into Canada Day and it was such a spectacular event, so it'd be nice to see that happen again for us,” said Lakeshore Mayor Tracey Bailey.

The last player from the area to win it was Amherstburg's Kevin Westgarth in 2012.

Richard Ofner, a board member with the Sun County Panthers, can't help but be proud of one of their grads.

He said the Belle River native was denied a chance to play with the older kids three times with Sun County, but ran with the opportunity once given the chance.

“He excelled right off the bat playing for Todd Lalonde and played minor midget as a bantam major player and was granted exceptional status to be drafted first overall to Barrie,” Ofner said.

Ekblad went on to be drafted first overall by Florida in 2014 and is on the verge lifting the cup.

“Get a lot of nice messages and things along the way, a lot of people at least saying they're rooting for us, I believe them,” Dave said.

Despite being down 0-3, Oilers’ fans still have faith.

“A hundred per cent,” said Andromeda Dean, a retired teacher from Sandwich Secondary, who is from Edmonton.

She was back home Thursday for game three. Dean roots for former Spitfire Adam Henrique and the Oilers, but also has a soft spot for Florida head coach Paul Maurice, a former Spitfire, and Ekblad.

“I would love, love, love to see that cup come home and to Windsor. I mean, Edmonton is my home. That's where I'm from. But Windsor is now my new home,” said Dean.

A Canadian team hasn’t won the cup since Montreal in 1993. The last team to rebound from an 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final was Toronto in 1942.

The odds are against Edmonton breaking the streak but the cup will be in Canada this summer.

“I can't help but stick close to the hometown proud feeling that I have so I am an Aaron Ekblad fan and I am a fan of bringing it back home so yes, go Florida,” Bailey said.

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