Anze Kopitar's privilege to spend 24 hours with the Stanley Cup might be a tad more meaningful for him than for some of the other Los Angeles Kings. He left Slovenia as a teenager to live in Canada and work hard to become his country's first NHL player. His parents spend the seasons with him in Manhattan Beach now, but this week the Kopitar clan returned with the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Hrusica.
There was a parade in which the Cup and Kopitar were ferried through town on a horse-drawn wagon. I saw a nice ceremony with local hockey-playing children who must view Kopitar as some sort of idol. He took the Cup to an old church on an island, climbed up to an old hillside castle and visited a local running track and a golf course — thousands of Slovenians must have gotten a glimpse of their new national sports hero and his trophy. It was all on television over there — you can catch clips at this Slovenian news website. I like this two-minute clip, which might begin with Joan Collins in a Snickers commercial translated into the local language.
Kopitar, by the way, speaks English better than many of the league's French Canadians. Here is an NHL video of Kopitar taking delivery of the Stanley Cup at his home. Plus here's a photo tweeted by Kopitar.
Slovenia photos: Damjan Žibert