The Golden Knights celebrated their historic Stanley Cup victory in grand style on Saturday, and the star of the show was none other than center William Karlsson.
The 30-year-old Swedish national, one of six original Knights still with the team, was the life of the party at the rally at Toshiba Plaza and T-Mobile Arena. Karlsson, who has typically been reserved and soft-spoken, surprised the crowd with his jovial antics, even losing his shirt at some point during the celebration.
Karlsson’s speech, where he hyped up the crowd and his longtime linemate, Jonathan Marchessault, quickly went viral on several national sports and social websites. He praised Marchessault, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, and showed great appreciation for the team’s loyal fans. There was even an Arizona Coyotes joke.
William Karlsson with a classic Cup parade speech 😆 pic.twitter.com/E9NnEKA4u9
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 18, 2023
“This guy,” Karlsson said of Marchessault. “This effing guy. Yeah, I know, I know. So, he was here day one. Yeah. And I know you (the fans) have been here day (expletive) one. You guys are so amazing. We’ve been up and down on this journey to the Cup. No, no, no, no. Listen to me. We’ve been waiting for six long years for this guy to be M.V.P. Jonathan Marchessault!”.
Karlsson was truly living the biggest moment of his career. His speech, although lasting just about two minutes, was so passionately delivered that there was a palpable disappointment when the microphone was taken away from him. Knights TV color analyst Shane Hnidy and VGK Foundation president of community relations and player initiatives Kim Frank knew they had to cut him off.
The celebration continued with Karlsson being carried off stage by teammate William Carrier, but he made a triumphant return as the celebration wound down. The Knights and their significant others jammed to some of their locker-room staples like “Never Going Home” by Kungs, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, and “Hold the Line” by Toto.
Karlsson’s epic speech was a fitting tribute to his stellar performance during the playoff. He netted 11 goals in 22 games, playing exceptional defense against some of the best opposing forwards the Knights faced like Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, and Dallas’ Roope Hintz. In total, Karlsson had 10 goals, 5 assists, and a plus-minus of +8 in 20 games in the 2023 playoffs.
Adding to the joy of winning the Stanley Cup, Karlsson also became a father during the second round of the playoffs, when his wife Emily gave birth to the couple’s first child.
The Golden Knights’ victory was particularly historic as they became the fastest expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, a testament to the skill and determination of the team and its players. Karlsson’s hilarious speech and infectious energy perfectly encapsulated the joy of this achievement. You can read more about the Golden Knights’ historic victory here.