Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 23

Petr and a fan sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup in Brno, Czech Republic. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
A friend picked up the Stanley Cup for Petr Sykora on Friday, August 28 and drove with it to Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. They met Petr and his wife Renata at their place. Also there was a good friend, Tom, in from New Jersey.

Petr sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup on the roof of his friends appartment building in Brno, Czech Republic. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Petr works out at the arena in Brno, so thought it only fitting to drop by with the Stanley Cup so his friends could get some pictures taken. They then drove over to his grandmother's house. She had lunch prepared — a nice American lunch for Petr's friends — steak and potatoes. God bless grandmothers!

They dropped by the pub where Petr's grandfather has gone every night for 20 years. Grandma stated that they talk about the same thing every night. Petr laughed, "We brought the Stanley Cup over so he'd have something different to talk about for the next 20 years!"

Petr and friends enjoying a few mojitos from the bowl of the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Sykora took the Stanley Cup over to the convention centre, which had originally been built for a huge auto show. They wanted to hold an autograph/photograph session in front of the hall, but moved into the lobby where Petr could better meet his fans and where they could get pictures with the Cup. A live radio show was broadcasting on location from the special event.

Petr lets a friend enjoy a drink out of Lord Stanley's bowl. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
One of Sykora's friends bought up a great deal of land when the Czech Republic and Slovakia split, and is now an exceedingly wealthy man. He owns an extraordinary apartment in the city, and Petr was invited to head over for a visit. They got some fabulous photos of the Stanley Cup on the roof by the pool as they overlooked the vista of the city from a unique vantage point.

Back at their apartment, Petr and Renata cleaned up and got dressed for an evening out with friends and the Stanley Cup. At 9PM, they dined on a delicious goulash dinner at Atna Sekeru Nedazame. They then drove to Club Aloha, where they drank a giant mojito with straws out of the Stanley Cup. The mojitos is originally a Cuban drink, created by blending white rum, vodka, sugar cane juice, lime, sparkling water, ice and mint, and now enjoyed throughout the world.

Petr and his wife Renata sharing a moment while the Stanley Cup looks on. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Petr concluded the night at Mundrene, where he danced with Renata and the Stanley Cup to 'I Gotta Feeling' by The Black Eyed Peas.
"That tonight's gonna be a good night.
That tonight's gonna be a good night.
Tonight's gonna be a good, good night
I feel it!
Saturday, August 29 began a little slower and later than planned ("Those mojitos sneak up on you!"). The group made the three-hour drive to Petr's hometown, Plzen, the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic.

Petr proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup at a charity game hosted by former Penguin Martin Straka in HC Plzen.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Petr pulled into the electronic store where his Dad works and happily signed autographs and had pictures taken for the next two hours. Afterwards, he stopped by the arena to play in a charity game with HC Plzen. One of the stars on the team is Martin Straka, a former Penguin and another local boy, who is the owner/general manager/coach and player for the hockey club. Between periods, the crowd got a big surprise when Petr stepped out onto the ice with the Stanley Cup. He circled the ice surface, holding the Cup aloft as the crowd cheered. Mayor Pavel Rödl made an on-ice presentation to Sykora. While Petr finished the game, the Stanley Cup was in the stands so that fans could take advantage of getting a picture. Both Straka and Sykora scored goals — Petr adding an assist -- in the entertaining contest. At the game's conclusion, there was a media conference set up in the arena's VIP Room.

Dinner that evening was very quiet — a distinct difference from the wonderful mayhem of the day.

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During the 2004-05 NHL lock-out, Petr Sykora played for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian league, and we'll spend a day with one of his teammates from that season in the next Stanley Cup Journal.

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

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