Dukla Trencin Treated To A Week In The States
For the second time in as many months, the 2008-born HK Dukla Trencin team boarded a commercial flight from their home in Slovakia to the United States to take on top American competition. In January, Dukla rang in the New Year in Coral Springs, Florida, for the inaugural Champions League hockey tournament, competing as one-of-five European teams in the event.
Last week, they returned to the U.S., as an honorary participant in the SPA Invite. For five days, American families from the 2008 Seacoast Performance Academy opened up their homes to their Slovakian counterparts, serving as billets to the 13-year-old boys from the opposing team.
Trencin players like Adam Goljer, Timothy Kazda and Juraj Jonas Ďurčo spent the week arm-in-arm with Seacoast’s Danick St. Pierre, Hunter Chadbourne, Garrit Turcotte and others. The two teams split the ice for practice and competed in 3-on-3 mini-tournaments. They also shared meals at home, watched TV and enjoyed video games from the couch. On Feb. 13, more than 30 boys between the two teams traveled to the Whittemore Center to watch New Hampshire take on UMass-Lowell in an NCAA game.
Later that day, Slovakian players and families were treated to the ultimate American experience: Super Bowl Sunday. They enjoyed food, played yard games and watch the big game on a projector screen at the Rinks at Exeter.
Joint practices, chalk talk, film sessions. The two teams were in lockstep throughout the week in preparation for the SPA Invite slated to begin that Friday. However, no amount of preparation is complete without a head-to-head matchup. Pleasantries were over at that point, as the two teams skated to a one-goal game, with SPA defeating its European guest 4-3.
When it came tournament time, both squads saw their share of successes and struggles. SPA won its first three games, only to drop its last two. Dukla scored four goals in three of its first five games but ran out of steam by Sunday night. St. Pierre led the Spartans in scoring with eight points, while Chadbourne, Turcotte, Evan Ferraro and Tyler Callinder posted four points apiece. Similarly, Goljer and Kazda carried the offensive attack for Slovakia, combining for nine of the team’s 19 goals. Ďurčo, Samuel Pisarčik and Šimon Šuranyi all recorded multiple goals as well.
A tremendous connection was formed between the two very different groups of teenagers. Despite coming from completely separate walks of life, the two teams bonded over the game of hockey. So much so that in 2023, Dukla Trencin plans to return the favor when Seacoast plans to travel to Europe.
One of the more unique experiences in all of youth hockey this season, it’d be hard to find a more memorable moment in the game today. Want more stories like Seacoast and Slovakia? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for exclusive content from the world of youth hockey.
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