Any NHL fan's dream would be to score the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final. It all starts with a driveway, a pair of skates, a stick, net, and a ball. Eventually, some people like Kyle Okposo reach the pinnacle of the sport and come face to face with their dream. For him, it was no longer just representing the Florida Panthers or having to beat the Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it was about making his inner child alive once again.

The Panthers won the Stanley Cup Final! A lot of storylines mattered like avoiding the fate of the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, Connor McDavid chasing legacies, and Matthew Tkachuk following Jayson Tatum in the Hall of Champions. However, Kyle Okposo had one page in his story that was written three decades ago which he got to fulfill. What made it even sweeter was that he was able to share it with his kids.

“I told him. My oldest son is eight years old and when I was his age, I was watching the Stanley Cup. I said, ‘You're going to be at the game tomorrow — at Game 7 of the Stanley Cup. I was in my driveway rollerblading, wishing I was in the Stanley Cup Final. How cool is that?” Okposo said while his words were charged with emotions.

He hoisted Lord Stanley for the first time in his career with the Panthers. But, that was far from the highlight of this Stanley Cup Final. He unveiled that it was the night prior to Game 7 when he truly felt great. The 36-year-old shared a moment with his children that he will never forget.

“It's just an incredible moment. Last night, I played one-on-two against my boys. I found that boyhood dream again. It was just a phenomenal timeout from everything,” he added.

It was a very long road for Okposo before he finally found his way to glory. Thankfully, it did not go the other way around.

Kyle Okposo's journey before winning the Stanley Cup Final with the Panthers

Jun 15, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Florida Panthers right wing Kyle Okposo (8) and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) battles for the puck during the second period in game four of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

17 years was what it took for him to reach the top of the sport. He had stints with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders before Paul Maurice's Panthers gave him a shot to help his career this way. However, Okposo was not the first option to play against the Oilers. Maurice had been playing Nick Cousins but Okposo's last three games were the difference maker which is why he was put on the ice.

Prior to that, it looked like a retirement without a Stanley Cup Final win was in store for him. He unveiled his feelings on it before Game 7 against Connor McDavid's Oilers, via Dave Blezow of the New York Post.

“I don’t think you can really know how your career is going to go. You just do the best you can in the moment you’re provided and for me, it was nine great years on Long Island and almost eight in Buffalo and now I’m here. I’ve just enjoyed every minute of my career. Through the ups and the downs because some of the most challenging times are the ones you’re going to look back on as the most fun,” he declared.

Thankfully, it all worked out and that dream in the driveway became a reality in Amerant Bank Arena.