After getting blessings from Chuck Bednarik’s wife, the Association of American Football in Slovakia will have their trophy officially named after the Eagles legend. The league had attempted to reach out to his family sooner to ask if they could honor to Bednarik, who was a first generation Slovak-American, but had trouble getting in contact with them. Eventually this year, they were finally able to get a hold of Emma Bednarik.
The President of the Slovak Association of American Football, Jan Polak, had the following to say about the historic news:
“We thought about this several years ago, and more intensively after Mr. Bednarik’s passing in March 2015. Recently, our vice-president Juraj Sopkuliak was able to reach Mr. Safarowic, who is Chuck’s son-in-law. Through him, we were able to reach out to Mrs. Emma Bednarik, Chuck’s wife. She was pleased with our proposal and gave us her blessing for it in a letter. So we can confirm, that from 2018 season, the trophy for the Slovak American Football championship will be named after Charlie Bednarik. This is a great honor for American football community in Slovakia. Furthermore, we decided to retire no. 60 jersey from the Slovak national team.”
Emma Bednarik’s response letter was made public as well:
“We are honored to learn that the Slovak Association of American Football plans to name its championship trophy in the memory of my late husband, Chuck Bednarik. On behalf Chuck and the rest of my family, I give you my sincere blessing and approval for this recognition.
My husband was a first generation Slovak-American, whose parents emigrated from Siroke, and he always remained proud of his heritage. He maintained a great lifelong appreciation for the customs, language and music of his family´s homeland.
For of all the great honors that Chuck received during his lifetime, the naming of this award is one that he would take great pride in. I know he will smile down on Slovakia, and get kick out of watching these young men play for “his” trophy.
Thank you for this great honor. It holds great meaning of a proud Slovak-American and his family.
Bednarik getting his no. 60 jersey retired is the cherry on top of this wonderful honor. He now has something in common with Wayne Gretzky and Jackie Robinson now, as all three have had their number retired league-wide in their respective sports.