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Stanley Cup draws crowd of 5,000 in Grand Forks

After a long day, Mike Bolt brought the Stanley Cup back to his hotel room in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

The trophy’s caretaker put the Cup in the bathtub, turned on the shower and grabbed the hotel’s free shampoo from the bathroom sink.

As it turns out, the Stanley Cup is just like everyone else. It, too, needs a good bath after a late night of partying at Judy’s Tavern and the Red Pepper.

NHL champion Matt Greene – given a little more than 24 hours to do as he pleases with the world’s most famous trophy – brought it to all of his old favorite spots around town Monday and Tuesday.

The former University of North Dakota captain took the Cup to the Manvel American Legion, the Grand Forks Country Club, Judy’s and the Red Pepper on Monday, keeping it out past its normal bed time.

“I think anybody who has been in town for at least one night has gone to the Red Pepper at 2 in the morning,” Greene said.

The Cup can now say the same.

On Tuesday morning, Greene stopped at Darcy’s Café for breakfast before bringing the Stanley Cup to Ralph Engelstad Arena, where an estimated 5,000-plus fans checked it out during a three-hour span.

He also walked the Cup to center ice and posed for a photo, lifting it high over his head in the place he called home for three seasons.

“This is a real special place for me,” Greene said. “I wanted to share it with people here. I’m proud to have spent time here and I call it my second home.

“It’s a great place to go to school, it’s a great place to live, it’s a great community and the program is No. 1 in the nation. It was a real special time in my life.”

Greene said he didn’t have much trouble planning his Stanley Cup route in town. He just went to the same places he always hits when he’s in town.

“They are all places we hung out when we were in school,” he said.

Greene spent the day with many of the same people from college. Several old teammates made the trip to Grand Forks to hang out with him for the day.

A couple of his friends from his hometown of Grande Ledge, Mich., also made the trip.

At 3 p.m., Greene handed the Cup off to Grand Forks native Tony Gasparini, a scout for the champion Los Angeles Kings.

Gasparini walked the Cup across the parking lot to the Altru Family Medicine Center, where his brother, Andrew, is a doctor. The physicians did what they do best:

They put the Cup on a hospital bed and examined it.

Then, Gasparini let friends and family join him for a private celebration at the home of his father, Gino, a former UND men’s hockey coach.

Some wide-eyed golfers who spotted the Cup from King’s Walk wandered off the golf course to check out the trophy as it sat on a table in the sun-drenched back yard.

“It has been a fun event,” Gasparini said as he posed for a photo with his son, Mario.

Today, the Cup is off to Calgary to be with Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. But not before it got quite the Grand Forks tour thanks to Greene and Gasparini.

“It’s been awesome,” Greene said. “It’s been a lot of fun coming back here. It’s been a whirlwind.

“The Cup brings out the crazy in a lot of people.”