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Summer with Stanley

Vrana brings Stanley Cup home to Prague

Capitals forward greets fans, visits grandmother's grave

by Michael Langr / NHL.com/cs Senior Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Jakub Vrana took his turn with the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, making history and memories in his hometown along the way. 

The Washington Capitals forward surprised locals and tourists on the streets of Prague's Old Town, one of many highlights from the Cup's only full day in the Czech Republic capital. 

 

[RELATED: Kempny brings Stanley Cup to hometown in Czech Republic | Complete Summer With Stanley coverage]

 

The Stanley Cup had been to Prague twice: in 2006 when Carolina Hurricanes forward Josef Vasicek brought it to one of his former teams, Slavia Praha, and in 2008 for Detroit Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek's private party. But it had never been here for the whole day, and never to picturesque Old Town.

One day after teammate Michal Kempny had the Cup in Hodonin and Brno, Vrana started his day with a short family celebration at noon, then took the Cup to the gravesite of his grandmother, who died shortly before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There was a small fan fest with a local rock band and popular Czech actor Martin Dejdar, the voice of Bart Simpson in the Czech edition of "The Simpsons," in front of the Letnany Shopping Mall, where Vrana spent two hours signing autographs and posing for pictures among several hundred fans.

"When I came to Letnany with the Cup, all those memories came to my mind," said Vrana, 22. "I saw myself as a kid running on the streets and playing hockey here. All great memories and certainly there's lots of emotions."

After dinner at Katr downtown, Vrana went for a half-mile walk through Old Town to bring the Cup to the One Club Prague disco. Teammates Kempny, Jakub Jerabek and Andre Burakovsky were expected to join him. 

"I'm going to fill the Cup with champagne," Vrana said. "My mom cooked beef goulash today but she didn't think it would be a good idea to put it into the Cup." 

The sight of the Cup in Old Town left fans in awe. 

"I've never seen a Cup in America and I didn't have a clue it was coming here," said Matt Sweeny, who is from Boston but lives in Prague and Manchester, England. "It was a pleasant surprise for me and nice experience to see it here in this beautiful town."
 

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