BIDDEFORD – Brian Dumoulin knew who the real star was Tuesday at the Biddeford Ice Arena.

“I think everyone is here today to see the Cup, not me,” Dumoulin said. “That’s fine with me.”

Dumoulin, 24, is the hometown kid made good, an NHL champion in his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But even with his Tom  Brady-esque looks, the defenseman paled compared to his 34 1/2-pound, shiny metallic traveling partner, the Stanley Cup.

Police estimated 5,000 people congregated in the arena parking lot for the opportunity to see the iconic hockey trophy (and Dumoulin), with many others getting their looks as the pair traveled from Biddeford High to the arena in the bucket lift of a fire truck.

“It’s emotional,” Dumoulin said. “I mean, everyone wants me to keep lifting it up but my arms are getting tired, I’ll tell you. But it’s a lot of fun.”

Dumoulin is the first player born in Maine to be part of an NHL championship team. He played a major role in the Penguins’ playoff run. He averaged the second-highest amount of ice time for Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals and scored in the Cup-clinching 3-1 win in Game 6 against San Jose.

Winning is nothing new for Dumoulin. He played for two title teams at Biddeford High (2007 and 2008) and two at Boston College (2010 and 2012).

“I think he was born with the ability to win,” said Dumoulin’s childhood friend, Matt Ladderbush.

Roger Douglass of Biddeford was the first fan to arrive, staking his spot outside the arena’s door at 5:55 a.m.

“Our oldest son was one year ahead of Brian in high school. He went to all the games and he was telling us how great (Dumoulin) was back then,” Douglass said.

On the ride from the high school, Dumoulin wore a Biddeford High hockey jersey.

“I think it was the one I wore back in high school,” Dumoulin said. “It was cool to see it and I just thought I might as well keep it on for the whole parade.”

At the arena, Dumoulin brought the Stanley Cup through the front doors as John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” pounded through the sound system.

“You hear that and the crowd getting into it, and it’s just a genuine smile you see on (Dumoulin’s) face,” said Jamie Gagnon, who was Dumoulin’s high school coach. “He couldn’t be happier to share this with the community and the state that’s been behind him every step of the way.”

State representatives Ryan Fecteau and Martin Grohman, both of Biddeford, presented Dumoulin with a flag flown over the statehouse, a framed letter from Gov. Paul LePage, and an official proclamation that, “basically says Brian Dumoulin is awesome,” as Grohman put it.

City Councilor John McCurry presented Dumoulin with a key to Biddeford. All the attention left Dumoulin overwhelmed and appreciative.

“I grew up here. This is the arena where I started skating,” Dumoulin said. “This is a memorable place for me. I played high school hockey here, I played growing up here. For me to bring the Cup back here to Biddeford Ice Arena (was) an easy decision. It’s a great place for it.”

The crowd had to wait nearly two extra hours for Dumoulin and the Cup to arrive. Apparently a connecting flight out of Newark, New Jersey, was delayed, slowing the Cup’s arrival. It had been in Ontario on Monday.

The public photo/viewing session, originally scheduled to end at 1 p.m., was extended to about 2:05. With about 300 people still waiting outside, an announcement was made that the Cup would be leaving. Dumoulin came out of the arena with it and walked briskly around those still in attendance so they could get a quick picture and perhaps a touch of the trophy.

Two hours earlier, Dylan Demers, 17, talked about what having Dumoulin and the Cup in town meant to someone like him. Demers played for Biddeford High the past three seasons. This year he plans to play junior hockey while finishing his senior year at Biddeford. Dumoulin took a similar path before reaching Boston College.

“It shows that growing up in a small town that there’s always going to be hope that you can go someplace,” Demers said. “It’s definitely motivation for me.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: