Former Prince George Cougars Captain Brett Connolly is now a Stanley Cup champion. Connolly and the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 Thursday, capturing the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship in their 44-year history.
Connolly, who played Bantam, Midget and Junior Hockey in Prince George, assisted on the game-winning goal by Lars Eller in the third period of Game 5. Connolly played a key third-line role during the Caps playoff run, alongside Eller and Swede Andre Burakovsky. In 24 playoff games, Connolly had six goals and nine points and was a plus four. He had two goals and three points in the Stanley Cup Final.
On the ice during post-game celebrations, Connolly spoke to Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake, about the Capitals Stanley Cup run, “Amazing. It is such a great group of guys. They made it so easy for me to come in and play and be comfortable, just friends I will have forever. Now it’s an amazing moment and I’m just so proud of everyone, and these fans have been dying for this, so it’s going to be a great night.”
In 70 regular season games with the Caps’, Connolly had 15 goals and 27 points to go along with 30 penalty-minutes.
The Prince George product played three seasons for his hometown team in the WHL, amassing 86 goals and 152 points in 144 career regular season games. He also played Major Midget for the Cariboo Cougars in the BCMML.
He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, sixth overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft. He spent four seasons in the Lightning organization, splitting time between the NHL and AHL, before being traded to the Boston Bruins during the 2014-15 season. The Prince George native spent one and a half seasons with the Bruins before signing with the Capitals in the summer of 2016. Last summer he signed a two-year extension with the Caps, which takes him through the 2018-19 season.
Connolly joins Dustin Byfuglien and Zdeno Chara as Cougars alumni to have hoisted the Stanley Cup. In total, eight WHL alumni were a part of the Capitals, including former Cougars Head Coach Lane Lambert.