Cheers, Táta: Czechs beat Russia 2-1 to win gold

COLOGNE, GERMANY - MAY 23: Goaltender Tomas Vokoun of Czech Republic celebrates with his team mates after winning the IIHF World Championship gold medal match between Russia and Czech Republic at Lanxess Arena on May 23, 2010 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Yesterday I met an Algerian-French woman who remarked that my first name is French. I had to explain that actually, it's not like that, as my name ends in a "k" the way it's often spelled by Czechs. Longtime readers know it was my Czech-American father who introduced me to hockey, and who led me to follow Al Arbour's Islanders. Take your typical "...but through sports, father and son found a connection" cliche and apply it there.

So forgive me this moment as I toast an event my dad would have loved: the Czech Republic's stunning World Championships gold-medal victory over a star-packed Russia. The political events that make this kind of upset a big deal are receding into history, but suffice to say those events are what made my father flee to this country, and what forced him to spend the middle 42 years of his life without seeing his homeland. So Czech(oslovakia) vs. Russia was always more than a game in our house.

Thank you, Tomas Vokoun and your many near-anonymous teammates who play in the Czech Extraliga. You ended Russia's 27-game winning streak. You won your sixth gold since the split with Slovakia. You knocked off Russia for gold for the first time in 34 years. You made more people than you know smile.

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