Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 15

Duncan Keith sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup
Duncan Keith sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup in Penticton, BC.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
During this decade, only five players have excelled enough to be called Norris Trophy winners, and it takes a mighty fine player to wrestle the NHL's best defenceman trophy away from the likes of Chris Pronger (2000), Niklas Lidstrom (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008), Scott Niedermayer (2004) and Zdeno Chara (2009). Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Norris Trophy recipient, Duncan Keith!

The personal award won by Keith capped an extraordinary season. His trophy case now also includes an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup.

Born in Winnipeg, Duncan's family moved to Fort Frances, Ontario when he was a youngster and then through his teenaged years, Keith lived in Penticton, B.C. While attending university at Michigan State, he was the 54th selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, going to the Blackhawks in the second round. Duncan leapt from U.S. college hockey to Junior 'A', joining the Kelowna Rockets during the 2003-04 season, and aided the WHL champs in winning the Memorial Cup. He turned pro with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL in 2003-05 and after two seasons, Chicago inserted him full-time into their line-up. As the Hawks re-built, the youthful core of Keith, Kane and Toews anchored what became the nucleus of a Stanley Cup championship.

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Duncan Keith proudly shows off his hardware
Duncan Keith proudly shows off his hardware – The Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and the Norris Trophy. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
On Saturday, July 17, the Stanley Cup and the Norris Trophy were flown from Vancouver to Penticton to spend the day with Duncan Keith. The plane arrived at Penticton Regional Airport, met by Keith, who proceeded to load the trophies onto a school bus that would take him and his silverware around town.

As the bus made its way to his parent's home, Duncan gazed out the window and saw a community clearly very proud of its adopted son. Everywhere he looked he saw signs that included variations of: 'Welcome to Penticton, Stanley. Home of Duncan Keith.' It was hard for him to stop smiling.

The home of Dave and Jean Keith affords a beautiful scenic view of Penticton, and Duncan took advantage and had a great number of pictures taken with his family, the Stanley Cup and the Norris Trophy with a panoramic vista as the background.

The Stanley Cup poses for photos at the Penticton Regional Hospital.
The Stanley Cup poses for photos at the Penticton Regional Hospital. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Duncan wanted to re-create the classic shot of Bobby Orr with a great smile, clad in his t-shirt, hugging the Stanley Cup. Mission accomplished!

When Duncan brought out his gold Olympic medal, his grandfather quickly wore it around his neck.

The family took the two trophies to Penticton Regional Hospital. This time, Duncan wore the gold medal while they pushed the Stanley Cup and Norris Trophy through the corridors, visiting patients as they went. One stop was particularly poignant. A patient in palliative care beamed as his hands caressed the Stanley Cup. "Now I can die happy," he stated. While there, Duncan donated $10,000 to the hospital to continue their great work.

Duncan Keith brought the Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy and his Olympic gold medal to the South Okanagan Event Centre
Duncan Keith brought the Stanley Cup, Norris Trophy and his Olympic gold medal to the South Okanagan Event Centre, the home of the Junior ‘A’ Penticton Vees.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Four RCMP officers and the Penticton Pipe Band escorted Keith through the length of the South Okanagan Event Centre, the home of the Junior 'A' Penticton Vees. The Vees have a long history in the community. The Junior 'A' team took the name of the defunct Senior team in 1961, and were seven-time Mowat Cup provincial Junior champions. The team changed names through the years, and were known as the Penticton Panthers when Duncan played junior for them, but returned to their historic name in 2004-05.

More than 5,500 crowded into the rink to see Duncan, wearing his gold medal while carrying the Stanley Cup, while his Dad walked nearby with the Norris. Duncan's Mom and his fiancée Kelly Rae followed the Keith men, as did several local dignitaries: Penticton mayor Dan Ashton, John Brunt, the assistant to Member of Parliament Stockwell Day, Bill Barisoff, Member of the Legislative Assembly, and Chief Jonathan Kruger of the Okanagan National Alliance. Also present were Miss Penticton, Holly Anthony, former NHLer Larry Lund and several members of the 1955 World Champion Penticton Vees Senior hockey club.

Duncan Keith takes time to do an interview from his home
Duncan Keith takes time to do an interview from his home in Penticton, BC. while Lord Stanley looks on. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Wally Hild, the Vees' announcer, served as master of ceremonies, and introduced Mayor Ashton, who took the opportunity to proclaim July 17, 2010 'Duncan Keith Day' in Penticton. Several other political representatives congratulated Keith on his achievements. Then Duncan's father, Dave, spoke, eloquently and passionately chronicling the challenges that Duncan faced and usurped on his way to the NHL, and the enormous work that his son undertook.

It was then Duncan's turn, and he took the opportunity to thank Penticton for its support. He presented the city with an autographed Team Canada jersey, after which the mayor presented Keith with the key to the city.

Escorted to The Valley First Vault Bar and Grill on the concourse level of the arena, Duncan had his picture taken, joined by the Stanley Cup, for contest winners and VIPs.

Duncan Keith and his fiance having some fun with the Stanley Cup
Duncan Keith and his fiance having some fun with the Stanley Cup in Penticton, BC.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Formal duties completed, Duncan and Kelly Rae took the hired bus back to their home on the lake. This is no ordinary house. It features a terrific gym and track so Duncan can work out at home. After family and friends had photos taken with Duncan and the Stanley Cup, it was time for a private party at a local hotel. Duncan and Kelly arrived by pontoon boat, much to the delight of invited guests. And from there, the party raged on.

The night concluded with a spontaneous visit to Penticton's The Best Damn Sports Bar.

Duncan Keith brought the same work ethic to his celebration that he does to the ice for the Blackhawks, and in doing so, the city of Penticton enjoyed a day that will be long remembered.

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Duncan Keith lets a friend enjoy a refreshing drink from the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
Duncan Keith lets a friend enjoy a refreshing drink from the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
On Tuesday, the Stanley Cup Journal heads back into Vancouver for a day with Andrew Ladd. Should be fun! We'll meet you here!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
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