Peter Šťastný (born September 18, 1956), also known colloquially as “Peter the Great” and “Stosh”, is a retired Slovak professional ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1980 to 1995. During his time with the Quebec Nordiques, Stastny became a Canadian citizen. Since 2004, he has also served as aMember of the European Parliament for Slovakia. During his NHL career, he played with the Quebec Nordiques, New Jersey Devils, and St. Louis Blues.
Peter Šťastný was a prolific scorer in the NHL in the 1980s. He started his career in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques in 1980 and was traded in 1989 to the New Jersey Devils. As a star member of a team playing in a francophone city, Stastny endeared himself to the Quebec fans by learning to speak French, and later learned to speak English. He retired as a member of the St. Louis Blues in 1995.
When the startling news broke in 1980 that Czechoslovakia player of the year, Peter Šťastný, and his brother Anton, had defected to Canada to play with the Quebec Nordiques, it represented a watershed moment in professional hockey as one of the first major stars of Eastern bloc hockey to join the NHL. The following year, his brother Mariánjoined them to become the third trio of brothers to play on the same professional hockey team (the first being the Bentley brothers of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1940s and the second being the Plager brothers of the St. Louis Blues in the 1970s).
The trickle of Czechslovak and Soviet hockey players rapidly became a flood following his footsteps. According to Peter, his defection “was the best decision I ever made. It has given my family the choices and options that people behind the Iron Curtain could only dream of. Then, to play pro hockey with my two brothers was like icing on the cake.”
On the ice, Peter proved to be both consistent and productive. He scored 450 goals and added 789 assists for a total of 1239 points in the regular season. After retiring as a player, he captained the Slovak national team in various international tournaments and still enjoys huge popularity among Slovaks.
NHL milestones and records
- 1st player in NHL history to collect over 100 points in rookie year (109). Note: Wayne Gretzky had 137 points in his first year in the NHL (1979–80), but was not considered a “rookie”, due to his time spent with the World Hockey Association’s Indianapolis Racers and Edmonton Oilers, where he won the rookie of the year award in that league during the 1978–79 season with 104 points.
- One of four players to record 1000 or more points in the decade of the 1980s (1059). Previously, only Phil Espositohad topped 1000 points in one decade.
- One of 7 players in NHL history to record at least 6 consecutive 100+ point seasons.
- Shares NHL record for assists by a rookie (70) with Joé Juneau.
- Holds NHL record for points in a game by a rookie with 8 (four goals and four assists on February 22, 1981 against Washington Capitals).
- Holds NHL record for points in a road game with 8 (four goals and four assists on February 22, 1981 againstWashington Capitals).
- Holds NHL record for points in 2 consecutive games with 14 (3 goals and 3 assists on February 20, 1981 againstVancouver Canucks and 4 goals and 4 assists on February 22, 1981 against Washington Capitals).
- Recorded 100th NHL point with an assist on March 29, 1981 against the Montreal Canadiens. He was the first official NHL rookie to accomplish the feat.
- Recorded 1000th NHL point on October 19, 1989 with a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks, and was the second European-born player, and first trained in Europe, in NHL history to do so. Stan Mikita, the first European-born player to score 1000 points, was born in Slovakia, but raised in Canada.
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 200 points (131 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (117), Mario Lemieux (128) & Cy Denneny (130)
- 2nd fastest player in NHL history to score 300 points (186 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (159) tied with Mario Lemieux (186)
- 3rd fastest player in NHL history to score 400 points (247 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (197) & Mario Lemieux (240)
- 3rd fastest player in NHL history to score 500 points (322 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (234) & Mario Lemieux (287)
- 3rd fastest player in NHL history to score 600 points (394 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (273) & Mario Lemieux (323)
- 3rd fastest player in NHL history to score 700 points (457 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (317) & Mario Lemieux (363)
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 800 points (531 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (352) & Mario Lemieux (410) & Mike Bossy (524)
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 900 points (599 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (385) Mario Lemieux (463) & Mike Bossy (582)
- 4th fastest player in NHL history to score 1000 points (682 GP) behind Wayne Gretzky (424) Mario Lemieux (513) & Mike Bossy (656)
In addition to his brothers (and teammates) Marián and Anton, Peter also has an older brother, Vladimír, who was an assistant coach of the Slovakia national ice hockey team. He is the only coach with all three medals in Slovakia ice hockey history. Peter also has brother Bohumil and sister Eva.
Peter is the father of Yan Stastny, who made his NHL debut in 2005–06 with the Edmonton Oilers and is currently playing in Russia, and Paul Stastny, who began his career with the Colorado Avalanche (the same franchise as the Quebec Nordiques, Peter’s first NHL team) in 2006–07 and wears the same number (#26). Born in Quebec City but raised in St. Louis, Yan played for Team USA in the 2005 and 2006 IIHF World Championships (Paul would represent Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics). The family is thus the first hockey family known to have represented four different countries (Czechoslovakia, Canada, Slovakia, USA) in international play. Paul recently broke the record for a scoring streak in a rookie season in the NHL and was a finalist for the 2006–2007 Calder Trophy—the NHL honour for “Rookie of the Year” won by his father in 1980–81.
Career in politics
Šťastný has always been known for his resentment of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. He joined the partySDKÚ-DS of the former Prime-minister Mikuláš Dzurinda to pursue a career in the European Parliament since he is fluent in both English and French. He was elected as leader of the 2004 European Parliament candidate list for the SDKU.
In the June 2009 election he was re-elected as the second of his party’s MEPs. His campaign slogan “With Courage and Determination for a Strong Slovakia” (Slovak: S odvahou a nasadením pre silné Slovensko) was criticised together with other slogans from the campaign as being something that any candidate could say about themselves.
He is a signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.
Šťastný has called for Juraj Široký to step-down as the President of Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, stating poor performance, pursuing own financial interests over the welfare of Slovak Hockey as well as moral incredibility after it was revealed that Mr Široký was former ŠtB officer and he still has not sufficiently explained his friendship and involvement with Viktor Kožený and his fraudulent financial manoeuvres regarding so-called Harvard Funds. These grievances were penned in a letter to René Fasel in a letter describing Široký as a threat to democracy and integrity of the game in March 2008, as a result of Široký’s actions in the 1980s (during which time Peter and two of his brothers had defected to Canada). Three months later, with Široký having not resigned from HC Slovan Bratislava, for whom Šťastný had played prior to his defection to Canada, or the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, Šťastný resigned from the Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame as a result, and had all references to him pulled from Samsung Arena, the home arena of Slovan at the time.
- Calder Memorial Trophy - 1981
- Played in 6 NHL All-Star Games - 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988
- World Championships Best Forward Award - 1995
- Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame - 1998
- Ranked number 56 on The Hockey News‘ list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, the highest-ranking Slovak-trained (or Czechoslovak-trained) player – 1998
- Inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame – 2000
- Inducted into Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame - 2002 – but he voluntarily quit and had his trophies retrieved as a form of protest against Mr Široký.
|1975–76||HC Slovan Bratislava||CS||32||19||9||28||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1976–77||HC Slovan Bratislava||CS||44||25||27||52||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1977–78||HC Slovan Bratislava||CS||42||29||24||53||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978–79||HC Slovan Bratislava||CS||39||32||23||55||21||—||—||—||—||—|
|1979–80||HC Slovan Bratislava||CS||41||26||26||52||58||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||New Jersey Devils||NHL||12||5||6||11||16||6||3||2||5||4|
|1990–91||New Jersey Devils||NHL||77||18||42||60||53||7||3||4||7||2|
|1991–92||New Jersey Devils||NHL||66||24||38||62||42||7||3||7||10||19|
|1992–93||New Jersey Devils||NHL||62||17||23||40||22||5||0||2||2||2|
|1993–94||St. Louis Blues||NHL||17||5||11||16||4||4||0||0||0||2|
|1993–94||HC Slovan Bratislava||SVK||4||0||4||4||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|1994–95||St. Louis Blues||NHL||6||1||1||2||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|Competitor for Czechoslovakia|
|Men’s ice hockey|
|Gold||1976 Poland||Ice hockey|
|Gold||1977 Austria||Ice hockey|
|Silver||1978 Czechoslovakia||Ice hockey|
|Silver||1979 Soviet Union||Ice hockey|
|Silver||1976 Canada Cup||Ice hockey|
|Competitor for Canada|
|Men’s ice hockey|
|Gold||1984 Canada Cup||Ice hockey|
Šťastný was the first player in ice hockey history to represent three different countries in three different international tournaments.
Appearances for Czechoslovakia
Appearances for Canada
- 1984 Canada Cup