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Stanley Cup coming to 24th Street

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August 17, 2011 - Even though Wildcat football season is in high gear, hockey will be the focus for one night in August as the ultimate prize for players in the National Hockey League will be visiting downtown Oxford.

Oxford resident Bob Essensa, the Goaltending Coach for the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, will be bringing the Stanley Cup to the 24th Street Sports Tavern on Tuesday, August 23.

"He came up to me and said he had an opportunity to bring the Stanley Cup here and asked me if I would like it, and I said I would love it," said Viktor Paljusaj, owner of 24th Street Sports Tavern.

Beginning at 9 p.m., hockey fans will be able to take photos with Essensa and the cup for around $10 to $15, according to Paljusaj. "This is an opportunity for local people who have never seen the cup (to) come in here at the local sports tavern, take a picture with it and have a good time," Paljusaj said.

According to the Bruins team website, Essensa is entering his eighth season with the Bruins organization as their goaltending coach. He joined them in 2003 and joins the team at various times throughout the season to work with the goalies in both Boston and Providence, RI, the Bruins minor league hockey affiliate.

He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1983 as their fifth pick, 71st overall during the NHL Entry Draft.

Before joining the Jets, he played four seasons at Michigan State University from 1983-1987 and earned CCHA First-team All-Star honors in 1984-85 and second team All-Star in 1985-86.

Essensa played five plus seasons in the Jets organization, with a 33 win season coming in 1992-93.

In edition to playing for the Jets, he played for the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Pheonix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres.

During his 14 year professional career that ended with his retirement following the 2001-02 season, Essensa compiled a 173-176-47 record with a 3.15 goals against average and 18 shutouts.

Staff Writer Andrew Moser

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