Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 22

Miroslav proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup on the roof of his Dad's house. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
After 14 years and 4 NHL teams, Miroslav Satan finally gets his name on the Stanley Cup. It had been a frustrating season for Satan, but with a happy ending like the one experienced June 12, 2009, life couldn't get much better.

The Stanley Cup descended the stairs of the plane in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, on Thursday, August 27, and was greeted by a bank of cameras and reporters, but Miroslav Satan was not there to take the Cup. One of the media members with a strong command of English whispered to the Keeper of the Cup, "He's on his way, but he's been caught in traffic." For 45 minutes, the television cameras shot images of the Stanley Cup until Miroslav arrived.

Satan greeted the throng, then took the Stanley Cup and jumped into his car. A motorcade including Satan and the Cup was on its way to a media conference at Restaurant One when the lead car in the procession was pulled over by the police for speeding.

Miroslav took the Cup to a Volkswagen dealership where the staff got the chance to get their picture taken with Lord Stanley's mug.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Now, hockey players know the power of the Stanley Cup. Like Satan, you dream about it your entire life and fight hard to capture it with your team. And fans know the power of the Stanley Cup, driving for hours to stand in line just long enough to touch, kiss and get a picture taken with the greatest trophy in sports. But the Stanley Cup holds other powers too. As the police were about to ticket the driver in the motorcade, Miroslav stepped out of his car with the Stanley Cup. The jaws of the police officers hit the shoulder of the road where they stood. After a few pictures of the police officers with the Stanley Cup, the speeding driver was warned to slow down and told to enjoy the day. Believe me, it was a whole lot better at that point!

The media was waiting at Restaurant One when the Stanley Cup arrived, amd Miroslav was asked questions, gave answers and celebrated his team's victory.

Miroslav stopped by the children's hospital. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The tour of the town then began in earnest. Satan took the Cup to a car dealership where the staff and mechanics were thrilled to meet a hockey hero and get photos with the Cup. On they went to a children's hospital, and Miro met the kids, posing for pictures, signing his name and giving autographed jerseys to some fortunate children. Afterwards, they arrived at a local TV station, where the Penguins' forward did an extensive interview with the Stanley Cup seated beside him.

Satan had received a last-minute invitation to meet the mayor for a civic presentation, so accepted and drove to a soccer field where citizens of Bratislava greeted him heartily. Mayor Andrej Durkovsk├Ż expressed his pride and appreciation in Miroslav's victory and return with the Stanley Cup. Presentations were made and Miro spoke as well.

A quick stop at the house allowed Satan to get ready for the evening, which was comprised of a wonderful dinner with 100 family and friends at a neighbouring restaurant. Among those in attendance were Jaroslav Halak, the goaltender with the Canadiens, and Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain. Another very special guest was Ivan Gašparovic, the president of the Slovak Republic.

Miroslav enjoying Slivkove Gule, a plum dumpling out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The next day, Miroslav took the Stanley Cup to his parents' home in the Topolcany District of western Slovakia. His Mom, Dad and brothers were there, waiting with a traditional Slovakian meal in the house that Miro's Dad built for him to arrive. Lunch was delicious schnitzel and potatoes. As excited as Miroslav was to have won the Stanley Cup, if you can believe it, he was almost as excited to have a special dessert he had love since he was a young boy. His Mom had made Slivkove Gule, a plum dumpling. The plums are rolled in dough, then boiled in water until they float. They are then covered with powdered sugar and, in Miro's case, devoured right out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup.

Miroslav had dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup since he was young enough to first taste plum dumplings, and always swore when he won it, he would stand on the roof of the house and show the entire neighbourhood the prized trophy. So he did just that, climbing onto the roof of his Dad's house and holding the Stanley Cup above his head to the heavens.

There was another special presentation made to Satan at the soccer pitch, where he stood and posed for photographs and signed his autograph.

The town was preparing for a great celebration to honour their hockey hero that night, but Satan thought he'd stop by early and visit with the volunteers, who were thrilled to meet Miroslav with the Stanley Cup.

Miroslav sharing a moment with the Cup in Bratislava during a special evening at the
town square. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
A charity hockey game was taking place at the only rink in town, an arena where Miro had once played. The contest pitted the former pros against the Slovak World Junior Team. Satan watched the game from a VIP section, then during the second intermission, he was escorted to centre ice with the Stanley Cup. A commemorative banner was hoisted to the rafters of the rink, and Miro was honoured, but he was shocked when a second banner, this one retiring his sweater #18, was also raised to the roof. Team photos were taken with the Stanley Cup and competing players on the ice.

Dinner was served in a VIP room, and then Satan placed the Cup on a Zamboni and drove from the arena to the town square for the special evening. The cheering was thunderous as Miroslav waved to the crowd from the ice resurfacing machine.

Miroslav carried the Stanley Cup to the stage, and the cheering continued. It was proclaimed Miroslav Satan Day, and a proclamation was read. While a band entertained, Miro signed autographs for the fans.

Late that evening, Satan and his entourage returned to the first soccer field they had visited, where a VIP party was held in his honour, serving great Slovakian food and plenty of drink.

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Next time, we Czech in with Petr Sykora in the Stanley Cup Journal.

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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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