Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 19

Ruslan along with his wife Debbie and her children Kyle, Derek and Larkin pose for a photo in Sister Bay, WI. while the Stanley Cup looks on. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Ruslan Fedotenko was getting restless. The champagne was chilling but we wanted to sip it from a very special vessel, and that vessel had not yet arrived. Pacing didn't help, but it passed the time. And then, he looked up and it was there, all 35¼" in height and 34½ pounds of hockey history.

On July 19, 2004, after winning the championship with Tampa Bay, Ruslan took the Stanley Cup home to Kiev. This time, on August 17, some five years later, he shook things up and celebrated his Stanley Cup accomplishment in Wisconsin.

Ruslan's wife Debbie and her children Kyle, Derek and Larkin, are from Door County in Wisconsin, and when Ruslan and Debbie were married eight years ago, it was there in Wisconsin, where they purchased property in the Sister Bay area.

Ruslan proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup at
Sister Bay Marina. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The evening was spent telling stories and drinking the nectar of victors out of the Stanley Cup's bowl.

Ruslan is a car fanatic, and the next morning, he took the Cup over to his friend's place to show him the Stanley Cup. Jack Bunda, a neighbour, has a great collection of vintage automobiles.

Debbie and the kids met Ruslan at Peninsula State Park. While Ruslan is celebrating a Stanley Cup victory, the park is celebrating its centennial birthday. They stopped for lunch at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant. Now, this is a restaurant like none you've ever seen. Al keeps five goats grazing on the roof of the restaurant. Yes, you read correctly! In 1973, the roof was seeded with grass and the tradition began. They eat the grass during the day (and happily pose for photos), then head back to the farm each evening. This may be something common to Scandinavian countries, but it sure was new to us. We've heard of drinks being on the house, but goats? Simply charming.

Ruslan took the Cup for a go-cart ride at Johnsnon's Park. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
At System Marina, Ruslan met up again with Jack Bunda and his classic 26-foot boat, 'Shadow.' Fedotenko took a victory lap around Sister Bay with the Stanley Cup. "(When Pittsburgh won the Cup), my first thought was to have a picture taken with the Cup in Jack's boat. That would be special, and so we did it."

Back in the park, Ruslan climbed aboard a trolley with the Cup for a tour of Door County. Then, they climbed the 77-foot look-out tower in Peninsula State Park for some dramatic photos overlooking the incredible landscape. "It wasn't so bad going up," Ruslan admitted, "but going down was hard because it was tough to see the steps."

After all that exertion, it was time to relax and cool down, and no place in the area does it like Wilson's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor. Established in Ephraim in 1906, the shop is marginally older than Peninsula State Park and just 13 years younger than the Stanley Cup itself. The bowl was filled with an Eagle Harbor Perfection Sundae, the officially-sanctioned dessert of the park's centennial.

Ruslan sharing a moment with the Cup at sunset with Lake Michigan in the background. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Fedotenko did a victory lap around the ice, he did a victory lap around Sister Bay and then he did a victory lap with the Cup in a go-cart at Johnson's Park. "I bet the Stanley Cup has never done that before," he laughed. We checked. He's right!

The Stanley Cup was stripped in slipped across the bay in a boat, then docked at JJ's La Puerta restaurant. Local residents were welcomed to get photos with the Stanley Cup or an autograph from the Penguins' star in a very informal setting, and many took advantage of the opportunity over the course of two hours. Afterwards, Ruslan and some of his friends, drank JJ's world famous margaritas out of the Cup.

"It's awesome to be able to share the Cup with people who helped you and supported you," he said.

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Friday's edition of the Stanley Cup Journal is brought to you by the letter 'G', as in Goligoski and Godard. Find out how Alex and Eric celebrated then.

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Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame. www.kevinsheahockey.com



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