An estimated crowd of 10,000 attended a rally Thursday for Michal Handzus when the Chicago Blackhawks forward brought the Stanley Cup to his home country of Slovakia.
Handzus took the trophy to his hometown of Banska Bystrica, where the 36-year-old rode through the streets.
Handzus was acquired by the Blackhawks from the San Jose Sharks prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. He had three goals and eight assists in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and ESPNChicago.com reported he played with a broken wrist and torn MCL during the Final, which the Blackhawks won in six games against the Boston Bruins.
Handzus signed a one-year contract to remain with Chicago on July 5.
"We won the Cup together," Handzus told the website last month. "I've only [been here] three months; I got traded in April, but when you go through the playoffs and win it with a group of guys, you know, you get really close to each [other] and you don't want to leave."
Marian Hossa is scheduled to welcome the Stanley Cup on Friday in the town of Trencin, which will host the Cup for the third time in four years. Hossa and Tomas Kopecky won the Cup in 2010 with Chicago and Zdeno Chara hoisted it the following year with the Boston Bruins. Hossa and Chara are neighbors.
Over the weekend, the Cup will fly to Sweden, where four players (Johnny Oduya, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg) will share it with their friends, family and fans.