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Prince Edward Island native Grant Sonier achieved what most professional athletes and coaching staff dream of on Wednesday — ending a long season with a championship.
The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, and the Summerside man who is an amateur scout with the Lightning was there to see it.
Sonier, the former general manager of the Charlottetown Islanders, joined the Lightning organization in October.
Holding the Stanley Cup was a surreal moment, Sonier said.
"A lot of emotions run through your mind, I think about family and friends, but I think about all the people that have worked as hard or harder than me that haven't had the chance," he told CBC's Mitch Cormier on Island Morning.
"It's the kind of thing you dream about your whole career, and I've been close a few times, but this time it happened."
Tampa Bay's management played a huge role to the team's success, Sonier said
"Everything starts at the top. Our [general manager] and our owner are just as quality of people as you'll ever find," he said.
"They've done a remarkable job of scouting. They've done a remarkable job of developing players. And on top of all of that, they've now got a really good team that's coached well and managed well."
No sympathy for Habs
Sonier said he admired the passion Canadians showed in supporting Montreal.
"During a pandemic, everyone's lives have changed, but the passion in hockey has never changed and it was certainly in the forefront."
However, he had no soft spot for the Habs during the series.
"The Canadiens did a lot for hockey in our country, but I don't feel sorry for them. I'm really happy that we won," he said.
"It's pretty easy to cheer for the team that pays the bills."
Sonier said he'll spend his next few days in Florida to continue celebrating.
"Yeah, there's going to be a parade. I guess, if they do it like they did last year, it'll be on the water," he said.
"So I don't swim, I'll have to get my water wings out."
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