Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 21

Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa showing off the Stanley Cup at a media conference in Bratislava.
Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa showing off the Stanley Cup at a media conference in Bratislava. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
There is something so special about returning home. It's even better when you return as the conquering hero. Best yet is when you're carrying the Stanley Cup with you!

Tomas Kopecky was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1982. Following the peaceful Velvet Revolution, that country dissolved, forming two separate states - the Czech Republic and the Slovak republic. The Velvet Divorce of January 1, 1993 formed two distinct, separate yet friendly countries - the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Kopecky's hometown, Ilava, is in Slovakia.

Tomas was indoctrinated into North American hockey as a teenager, moving from Slovakia to the Western Hockey League to play junior after the Detroit Red Wings drafted him in 2000. Playing in Lethbridge, Tomas learned the new language and culture, helping him assimilate into the NHL when he joined the Wings for one game in 2005-06 and full-time in 2006-07 until a broken collarbone shortened his season. By 2007-08, fully healed, Kopecky was part of his first Stanley Cup championship.

Marian Hossa helping teammate Tomas Kopecky drink from the Stanley Cup at  party hosted by the Hossa family.
Marian Hossa helping teammate Tomas Kopecky drink from the Stanley Cup at party hosted by the Hossa family.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Tomas signed with Chicago before this past season, and contributed 10 goals and 21 points to the Hawks' potent attack, but it was in Game One of the Stanley Cup final that Tomas really shone.

Replacing injured Andrew Ladd in the line-up, Kopecky clambered off the bench with the score tied at 5 in the third period. He took a pass in the slot from Kris Versteeg, held onto the puck and after outwaiting Flyers' netminder Brian Boucher, tucked the puck in the corner for what proved to be the winning goal.

Nine days later, Tomas Kopecky had won the second Stanley Cup championship of his young career.

* * *

After flying overnight, the Stanley Cup arrived in Bratislava, the capital (and largest city) of Slovakia on Thursday, August 5. At 11:00AM, a media conference was held at the Hotel Carlton, with both Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky the focus of attention. That evening, Tomas attended Marian Hossa's Stanley Cup party.

After spending the night with the Hossa family, at 3:00PM on August 6, the Stanley Cup was delivered to Kopecky in Nova Dubnica, not far from his birthplace. The first order of business was a civic reception with Mayor Jan Susanik at City Hall.

Tomas Kopecky enjoying a traditional Slovakian soup out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
Tomas Kopecky enjoying a traditional Slovakian soup out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
After returning to his home, Tomas, his wife Maria and their children had photographs taken with the Cup. Tomas was pleased that his oldest son, Jakub, was now old enough to understand Daddy's accomplishment. He had been an infant when Tomas won with the Red Wings in 2008. In fact, Jakub thoroughly enjoyed trying to carry the Cup around the house.

That night, a party took place to honour Kopecky, held at Hotel Alfa, which Tomas owns. It was a terrific party, and one of the highlights was watching Tomas eat a traditional Slovakian soup that filled the Stanley Cup to the brim. While we won't attempt the name of the soup, the English translation is 'cow's stomach soup,' and Tomas devoured it, dipping robust pieces of bread into the steaming concoction.

That night, Tomas took the Cup around town in order to share the celebration with his fans.

Saturday, August 7 began with Kopecky taking the Cup to the Trencin Zimny Arena, the home of HK Dukla Trencin, a professional hockey team based in Trencin.

Tomas Kopecky, Marian Hossa and the mayor of Nova Dubnica Jan Susanik hoisting the Stanley Cup at a civic reception at city hall.
Tomas Kopecky, Marian Hossa and the mayor of Nova Dubnica Jan Susanik hoisting the Stanley Cup at a civic reception at city hall.
(Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)
After lunch at Restaurant Retro, Tomas took the Cup to the beautiful, historic hospital in Trencin. Built in 1847, it is one of the oldest hospitals in all of Slovakia.

At 4:00PM, it was over to Mierove Square for a civic ceremony. Joined by Marian Hossa, the two Hawks were ceremonially knighted by Slovakian dignitaries live on the state TV ancient city. It was an impressive afternoon for Kopecky and Hossa.

The day ended at the Trencin Castle, a medieval fortified castle located on a rock high above the city. This is a historically significant location, as the rock below the castle has a Roman inscription dating back to 179 AD, the era of the Marcomannic Wars between the Roman Empire and the German Quadi. The inscribed rock is the most northerly evidence of Roman presence in central Europe.

* * *

The Stanley Cup outlines the day spent with Marian Hossa when we return here on Tuesday. Join us then!



Tomas Kopecky, Marian Hossa and the Stanley Cup attended a party held at the Trencin Castle.
Tomas Kopecky, Marian Hossa and the Stanley Cup attended a party held at the Trencin Castle. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa brought the Stanley Cup to a local high school in Trencin.
Tomas Kopecky and Marian Hossa brought the Stanley Cup to a local high school in Trencin. (Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)


Tomas Kopecky showing off Lord Stanley to the fans in attendance at Mierove Square.
Tomas Kopecky showing off Lord Stanley to the fans in attendance at Mierove Square.
(Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)

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



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