Anton, Peter and Darina were alarmed by the sudden appearance of uniformed policemen. Just as the group entered the suite, the telephone rang. Schallgruber answered. "It's the damn Czechs," she said, hanging up. And a good thing she did, Aubut says now. "Once they get them on the phone, that's it," he says. "They will say anything; they will make any threat to get them to stay."
The Stastnys were escorted to the Canadian Embassy, and that night—Monday, August 25—they landed in Montreal.
The transition to NHL hockey hasn't been easy for Anton and Peter. The brothers, and their team, are struggling. The Nordiques are 1-9-4, and the mucking, unimaginative play in the league has been frustrating for the Stastnys. Peter, with only four goals, is told he doesn't shoot enough. That's the North American way. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Forget the slick European passing game. Anton, with five goals, is told the same thing. Shoot, shoot, shoot.
But their difficulties on the ice are just the tip of the iceberg. Darina, who speaks neither French nor English, now has a month-old daughter, Katherine—the first Stastny to be a Canadian citizen. The other day a neighbor came over and tried to explain to her that the electricity would be turned off for repairs between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. When Peter came back from practice the house was cold, and Darina was in a warmup suit and the baby was hungry because Darina couldn't heat the formula. Darina had been ironing when the power went off. Four shirts were finished and the rest were in a pile.
"I tried to tell her," the neighbor said. "I don't think she understood."
At home in Bratislava there is a sister, Eva, 14, who, the last Anton heard—although he manages this with a smile—was still crying over her brothers' absence. There is anxiety about Marian, and the things that might be done to lure them back.
"I made the decision only in the summer," Anton says. "In the autumn is too soon to go back. I am young. It is a good age for starting the rest of our life."
And then he says, without the appearance of sadness, "I have a good remembrance for my youth."