Originally from France, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pierre-Édouard Bellemare will play in his second Stanley Cup final, an uncommon feat in his small corner of the country.
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“In my country, this is not trivial at all! I take advantage of it, I open my eyes and I dedicate this victory to all the French people who are watching, ”he told our journalist Renaud Lavoie, a few moments after the Bolts won the Prince of France trophy. Wales, awarded to Eastern Association Champions.
The native of Blanc-Mesnil, a town near Paris, wanted to dedicate his victory to all French hockey players.
“I do this for all the children, who like me, we grow up in a country where hockey is not very well known and where you have to fight to achieve your goal. On arrival, hard work pays off all the time!”
At 37, the support player has another opportunity to get his hands on the big trophy.
In 2018, he failed in his first appearance in the Finals, when the Las Vegas Golden Knights lost in five games to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In NHL history, only once has a Frenchman lifted the Stanley Cup.
Indeed, a certain Cristobal Huet had won top honors with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008.
Bellemare could however become the first outfield player to win the Cup.
Before signing a two-year, $1 million contract with Tampa Bay this summer, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare lined up with the Colorado Avalanche, the next opponents of Jon Cooper's men.
We bet that the first minutes of the series will have a special taste for the Frenchman.