When the Washington Capitals lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time on June 7, they made more than just franchise history. Lars Eller also became the first Danish player to win the coveted trophy.
Not only did Capitals fans in the DMV area bear witness to Eller’s series-winning goal, but so too did fans across the globe. Particularly in Eller’s home town of Rødovre, Denmark, where the locals held a viewing party at a movie theatre, organized by Eller’s aunt.
#ALLCAPS Lars Eller could become the first player from Denmark to win the #StanleyCup. He has plenty of support back home. Eller told me that there is a viewing party at the local movie theatre in his home town of Roedvre, Denmark, for GM5. Puck drops at 2:22 a.m. local time
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) June 6, 2018
“Back in Denmark, I didn’t grow up having the NHL players as idols,” Eller told RMNB’s Ian Oland on Breakdown Day. “We didn’t have that on TV at home back then. It wasn’t really on the map.”
When asked what it felt like to be the first Danish player to win a Stanley Cup, he said, “It’s just icing on the cake. Just the fact to win the Stanley Cup alone would have been enough for me. But, of course, it’s special to be the first to break that ground. For me, it was special enough just to win it. But I think for people back home, it just makes it more special to be the first ever athlete from this country to do this. I’m proud.”
On Friday, Eller got his first taste of what that reaction could look like, when he attended the Danish Embassy with his family. Danish ambassador to the United States, Lars Gert Lose, was proud to host Eller, along with 200 guests.
According to the Washington Post’s Emily Giambalvo, Danish food and drinks were served at the event, with Eller-inspired names, like #ALLCAPS, Eller Special, and Winning Goal.
A post shared by Lars Eller (@larsellerofficial) on
There was also a Stanley Cup cake.
“We have a lot of events here, and to be honest, I have sometimes a hard time explaining to my team why this is a really, really important event and you need to do a lot of work,” Gert Lose said. “This is not one of them.”
Eller has plans to take the Stanley Cup back to his home club in Rødovre, in the hopes of inspiring other Danes to take up the sport.
“My wish and hope is the country will eventually end up with more players, more kids, more boys and girls picking up a hockey stick and a pair of skates instead of something else,” Eller said. “And more rinks, of course.”
Headline photo: @DKambUSA
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