Reading Royals championship parade

The Reading Royals rode through the streets of Reading on a firetruck during a parade in their honor. (Candice Monhollan)

The Reading Royals rode through the streets of Reading on a firetruck during a parade in their honor. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. — There was no space left on the sidewalks along Penn Street.

Every inch was filled with purple-clad bodies, all ready to cheer on their champs, the Reading Royals.

You could hear the roar of the crowd before you even heard the whistles and sirens of the parade entourage.

Leading the way player-wise were the two Russian buddies of Nikita Kashirsky and Stanislav Galiev, both riding on a four-wheeler.

Following behind on foot and with the Kelly Cup in hand was captain Yannick Tifu.

Hockey ops staff, such as Pat Noecker and Brian Grogesky, rode in next on the zamboni with the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy.

When the rest of the team reached the final feet approaching the Sovereign Center, the firetruck they were riding on had to creep along as the fans pushed forward to greet their heroes.

Smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces as they took in the sight of the thousands of fans who were in attendance to cheer them and thank them all for bringing a championship home to Reading.

SPEECHES

Larry Courville

Yannick Tifu

Riley Gill

Ethan Cox

Kirk MacDonald

Patrick Wellar

Nikita Kashirsky

Mark Owuya rap – NSFW, language near the end.

PICTURES

I took plenty of pictures of the entire evening. Make sure to check out my album here.

LAST PRESSERS OF THE SEASON

Nikita Kashirsky

“It’s a little more special for me because I got to play all the Finals games and I got to be on the ice with the team. Of course, the first one, it’s very special, but just to be on the ice with the team, it was way more emotional for myself. It was a great end to a roller coaster season that I had. I went through a lot of stuff this year – I started playing early because I started in Europe and then coming back here. I definitely put it way ahead of the South Carolina one.”

“I was just happy to come into the team. They were winning a lot of games before I came in. I just wanted to come in and contribute. I was just worrying if my game would be alright or not because I was not playing for a couple of months. The guys made me feel like I was part of the time since day one. I didn’t lose anything and started contributing. Larry trusted me for the rest of the way.”

“Everybody on this team is a great guy. It happens not that often when a team has that kind of character and everyone’s together, everyone’s doing a lot of things together. That definitely helped out. Everyone was playing for each other out there.”

“I was surprised [the parade turnout] was going to be like that. I wasn’t really expecting it to be that many people. It was definitely something everyone was excited about.”

Yannick Tifu

“The last couple of days have been great, but the second it hit me was on Sixth Street at the light, coming to the Sovereign Center. I thought the crowd right there was unbelievable. Then I got off the zamboni with the Cup and walked. The crowd was pretty neat. I had a little bit of tears when I got to the parking lot. Now it’s coming down a little bit after all the parties and stuff. I’m starting to realize it a little bit more.”

“We knew about the parade on Wednesday. We heard the word, but I didn’t know the welcome [on Sunday] was going to be like that. We got pulled over by the cops and then they carried us all the way with a firetruck. It was pretty neat. Even before the Sovereign Center, like maybe 10 minutes before, they were still people outside. I don’t know how they knew we were coming at that time. Top three moments will be raising the Cup on the ice and then the welcome home and then Sixth Street today. The whole parade was unbelievable, to be honest, but Sixth Street to the Sovereign Center was unbelievable.”

“I said to the boys before I left, I knew I had to go out there with the Cup and I just have to hope I don’t cry because I know I will cry. The crowd in front of us and everybody showing up in the streets here, it’s unbelievable. Not just that, but even lately when we go for a drink or two at the bar with the Cup. People are really nice. They’ve been talking to us, saying thank you for bring that to Reading. It’s going to help Reading. After 12 years waiting for that, it’s something good for the city. It’s just more than the players, but for the city of Reading. They should be proud of it.”

“When you go out, I feel bad sometimes. Cox told me today he went to get some chew at the gas station and the guy just gave him his chew. He didn’t even pay. I love all the fans and when we go out and stuff, other people are with us. You always want to give it back to the fans, too. It’s great, it’s fun. Before we won the Kelly Cup, the acted like that when we went out. I remember a story when we were at a restaurant earlier in the season, I ended up leaving the restaurant and it didn’t cost me a cent. I had a little buzz after a couple drinks with [Joel Champagne] and [Julien] Cayer and they gave us everything. Right there, it means a lot. Somehow, we wanted to give it back to the community and by bring the Kelly Cup home, that’s what they all wanted. That’s why it’s been great.”

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Kelly Cup Finals, Kelly Cup Playoffs, Sports

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