Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 27

Filppula gathers with some minor hockey players at the rink where he once honed his skills.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
From Sweden, having guested with nine championship players and a scout, Lord Stanley's mug moved into Finland on Monday, August 4. Arriving at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport just past noon, the beautiful and historic trophy was warmly welcomed by Valtteri Filppula and his girlfriend, Heidi. Before grabbing lunch at Hesburger, Valtteri and Heidi stopped at the company at which she works, to show her co-workers the brilliant silverware.

By way of explanation, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area encompasses the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa (Filppula's birthplace) and Espoo, and it's in the latter that the Wings #51 played hockey as a youngster. After his hamburger, Valtteri took the Stanley Cup to the arena he used to frequent, where 2,000 fans greeted him. A press conference preceded a session of autographs and photographs.

Late in the afternoon, Valtteri and Heidi drove to her parents' house, where the Stanley Cup party was staged. Large tents had been erected outside, glasses of champagne greeted guests at the entrance and on each table, M&M's in Wings' red and white were printed with 'Valtteri.' We tried to bring some back to North America, but unfortunately, they melted in our hand.

Filppula (left) gets some help hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup from Teemu Selanne (right). (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The celebration was comprised of 140 happy people, including Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, along with his wife and baby, and Petteri Nokelainen, a rookie last season with the Boston Bruins. Curiously, we found no meatballs in Sweden, but they were in abundance at Filppula's Finnish celebration.

As is tradition, many of the partiers enjoyed a sauna during the party. Valtteri took the Stanley Cup into the sauna for a photograph, but was so concerned that the intense heat would damage the Cup that he was in and out faster than Pavel Datsyuk on a scoring chance. The party continued until sunrise.

The next morning (Tuesday, August 5), the only player from Finland ever to dress for the Red Wings took the Stanley Cup to the Jokerit rink where he played before moving to North America. Greeting some local youngsters, Valtteri allowed them the opportunity to get their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. While there, Filppula was joined by his Finnish hockey heroes — Jari Kurri, Teemu Selanne and Esa Tikkanen. Thrilled, the Detroit centre had his photograph taken with the NHL legends and the legendary hockey trophy, which has now been won by all four of those boys.

* * *

Ari Vuori and his family gather and pose for a few photos with the Stanley Cup. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
In the afternoon, Ari Vuori, a European scout for Detroit, got his turn with the Stanley Cup, and took the Cup for the first time ever to Turku, a two-hour drive from Helsinki. Vuori, born in Poytya, Finland, played junior in Canada with Belleville and Niagara Falls of the Ontario Hockey League, then returned and played several years with TPS Turku.

Ari took the Stanley Cup to Turkuhalli, where TPS Turku play their games, then over to a bar owned by former Buffalo Sabres defenceman, Hannu Virta. Vuori and Virta were joined by another former teammate, Montreal's captain, Saku Koivu. Vuori, Virta and Koivu all played with TPS Turku in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

* * *

Check in with the Stanley Cup Journal on Tuesday, when we head into the Czech Republic to party with centre Jiri Hudler, defenceman Jakub Kindl and scout Vladimir Havluj.

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

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
 
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