Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 20
The Stanley Cup Journal

The Stanley Cup didn't have to fly in cargo on the flight between Minsk, Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine. Wait a minute, aren't you the captain? -- who's steering?!?
Monday, July 19 was devoted to Ruslan Fedotenko, the Lightning's Game 7 hero. On June 7, Fedotenko scored both goals in the dramatic 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames that earned the Tampa Bay Lightning its first franchise championship.

Ruslan Fedotenko proudly took the Stanley Cup sightseeing through Kiev, with a backdrop of architecture that dates back centuries.
The Stanley Cup flew with the passengers, something it does only occasionally, from Minsk, Belarus to Kiev in Ukraine. An oddity to North American travelers, the flight allowed smoking, although Lord Stanley's Cup sat in the non-smoking section. It has every desire to be around for another hundred years or more!

In the airport at Kiev, the Cup was greeted with near hysteria by more than a thousand fans and what seemed like an equal number of media members. Ruslan took the Stanley Cup to a local arena, jammed to the rafters with fans straining for a glimpse of the beautiful silver trophy. Photographs and autographs with Fedotenko ensued.

Then, it was time for some sightseeing, and the Stanley Cup was witness to extraordinary buildings, significant both historically and architecturally -- the Cathedral of St. Sophia, which dates back to the 11th century, the Cathedral of St. Volodymyr, the Ukrainian Baroque church of St. Andrew and the Golden Gate, a reconstructed wall that centuries past, identified the city's limits.

With television broadcasting the event live, Fedotenko made his way through the crowd on Khreshchatik, the main street of Kiev, cheered by thousands who reveled in their local boy's triumphant return.
The Stanley Cup arrived at Khreshchatik, the main street of Kiev that runs between two steep hills. The celebrations were in full force, with singing, dancing and bands performing. A large balloon, with Ruslan's Number 17 jersey tied to it, was also seen. The celebration, which included better than 8,000 participants, was broadcast live across Ukraine. Former NHLer Dmitri Khristich, a Kiev native himself, was one of those spotted enjoying the party.

Ruslan Fedotenko later met up with his family at the Premier Palace Hotel, where they held a small party to celebrate Tampa's victorious season. It was the first time in six years that Ruslan had been back to Kiev. Fedotenko left Ukraine as a teenager and played for Melfort in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He later joined Sioux City of the USHL where he met Debbie, now his wife. In fact, on August 15, Ruslan Fedotenko will take the Cup to Iowa.

In a celebration that featured singing and dancing, Ruslan Fedotenko was front and centre with hockey's most exalted trophy -- worldwide -- the Stanley Cup.
After finishing second in USHL scoring with Sioux City, Ruslan was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1998. Fedotenko made his NHL debut October 24, 2000 as a Flyer, competing against the Rangers. During the summer of 2002, after two seasons with Philadelphia, Tampa sent its first round draft choice in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft to the Flyers for Fedotenko and a second-round pick. The Lightning did well — Ruslan collected 19 goals and 32 points in 2002-03 and 17 goals and 39 points during the 2003-04 regular season. But the value was truly realized during this year's playoffs, when Fedotenko exploded, scoring 12 times and adding 2 assists to help the Lightning collect the greatest gift Lord Stanley ever gave anyone — the Stanley Cup!

Stanley Cup Journal travels to Arkhangelsk, Russia on Wednesday, and you'll celebrate with Dmitry Afanasenkov when we do.

Kevin Shea is always rushin' to get this journal written as part of his role at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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