Francouz returns to Czechia for his day with the Cup

PILSEN, Czechia – Pavel Francouz was entitled to his day with the Stanley Cup on Friday, and the Colorado Avalanche goaltender already wants to relive another one.

« You always want more, you want to relive the experience over and over again, » said the goalkeeper, who enjoyed the day in Pilsen, Czech Republic. “And I believe we can do it. We will still be strong, we will have a chance to repeat. It would be great to win again. If we play like we did this year, for sure we have a chance. »

Francouz met the public with the Cup at the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, which brews one of the most popular lager-type beers in the world. More than 1000 people braved the weather, which reached 35 degrees Celsius, to get a photo with the goalkeeper and the trophy.

« The Pilsner Brewery is the symbol of the people of Pilsen, and I’m really happy that I could hold the celebrations here, » he said. I grew up in Pilsen, and beer is part of our joie de vivre. »

Francouz arrived with the Cup in an old US Army Jeep, which featured an American flag on one side and an Avalanche flag on the other. US armed forces liberated Pilsen and West Bohemia in 1945 during World War II.

The doorman resisted the urge to eat one of the local specialties in the Cup. After all, what could be better than using it to drink beer?

“I’m really having fun. I was able to celebrate with my family and loved ones, and we had lunch with the Cup, said Francouz. But I haven’t eaten anything in it, although I know that some players have eaten goulash, halusky or boiled there. I chose a different approach. »

The 32-year-old goalkeeper was assistant to Darcy Kuemper during the Avalanche’s run in the playoffs, and he had an important role to play when Kuemper was injured in the Western Conference Finals. He went 6-0 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .906 save percentage, while sweeping all four games against the Edmonton Oilers to reach the final.

This season, he will share the net with Alexander Georgiev following Kuemper’s departure to the Washington Capitals as a free agent. Georgiev was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on July 8.

This is the third time the Cup has visited Pilsen. Petr Sykora brought it with him in 2000 as a member of the New Jersey Devils, then repeated the experience in 2009 when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

« Perhaps a young person who is here will want to start playing hockey and he too will have the dream of coming back here with the Cup one day, » said Francouz.

On Saturday, the trophy will visit Ausburg, a town in Bavaria two hours from Pilsen, where the striker is from Nico Sturm.

“You dream of winning the Cup, and when that happens, those feelings are impossible to describe,” explained Francouz. The Cup represents a huge piece of hockey history, and to be able to hold it in my hands is a great honor for me. I hold her as if she were my own child! »

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