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Former Barrie Colts captain Aaron Ekblad is a Stanley Cup Champion


Aaron Ekblad has won the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers.

The 28-year-old defenceman from Belle River, Ont. hoisted Lord Stanley's mug Monday night in Sunrise, Florida, following a frantic 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Ekblad was drafted first overall by the Panthers in 2014. He joins former Colts Alex Pietrangelo, Kyle Clifford, and Tanner Pearson, as Stanley Cup champions.

Ekblad was selected first overall by the Ontario Hockey League's Barrie Colts in 2011 as an underage player granted exceptional status. He later won rookie of the year with the Colts.

"You know, he came to us when he was 15 years old, and here he is, 10 years later, hoisting the cup over his head," said Barrie Colts co-owner Howie Campbell.

Game 7 saw Ekblad defeat his friend and fellow OHL exceptional status rookie, Oilers captain Connor McDavid of Newmarket, Ont. McDavid spent his entire OHL career with the Erie Otters before being drafted with the Oilers' top pick in the NHL Entry Draft in 2015.

Ekblad, who has battled back from injuries in his 10-year career in Florida, including several concussions, was emotional following the victory over McDavid and the Oilers.

"This is the best moment of my life so far," he said after raising the cup. "This is a surreal moment."

"We did it," said Ekblad.

The Panthers spoiled Edmonton's comeback efforts in trying to end Canada's 31-year Stanley Cup drought and become the first NHL team since the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942 to lose the first three games then win four straight in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series. Top Stories

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