WHITEFISH — It's not every day that one gets to see the Stanley Cup, but that's exactly what anyone at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Friday morning had the opportunity to do.
Skiers, snowboarders, and hundreds hockey fans alike all lined up for a chance to get a photo with the Cup, including 13-year-old Lillie Groom, who’s been a Vegas Golden Knights fan ever since attending her first game in Las Vegas three years ago.
Vegas won the Stanley Cup — the oldest trophy in North American sports — at the end of the 2022-23 season by beating the Florida Panthers in the finals. The team's co-owner, Bill Foley, owns property in Montana, including the Whitefish Mountain Resort.
"It was really cool because it was super high-scoring, and the energy was cool," said Groom. "And they had the drummers up and the cheerleaders and everything, and I met the mascot. It was just a really cool, fun experience."
Having been a huge hockey fan her whole life, Groom remembers the excitement of watching the Golden Knights win their first Stanley Cup in the club’s young history. Even though she has experienced NHL games she only hoped one day she would see the Cup in person.
"I was really hoping because I started watching hockey so young that maybe I'll see it one day," said Groom. "But it's really cool to see it in my hometown, where I grew up skiing, and it's just really cool to see it in person."
Groom has more in common with the Vegas Golden Knights than she thinks. Foley lives part-time in Whitefish, which is why the Cup made its stop on Big Mountain. The massive Cup sits almost three feet tall and weighs nearly 35 pounds. Its presence alone caused Groom, and many fans in attendance, to be blown away.
"It's pretty big," said Groom. "I kind of expected it to be, like, massive, and it was definitely massive."
And after seeing the Stanley Cup in person the lifelong hockey fan had just one thing to say:
"Go Knights Go!"