Down With Dukla

Dec 21, 2021 | Craig Peterson

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Slovakian ‘08s Represent Central Europe at Champions League

A city of roughly 55,000 people located in western Slovakia, Trenčín is home to 10 current and former NHL players. It’s the ninth largest city in its own country, and just the 118th largest country in the world, yet has produced the likes of Zdeno Chara, Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa. This small city in central Europe has seen Olympic champions, Stanley Cup champions and world champions come up through its youth hockey programs, and the next wave of Slovakian talent is coming to Coral Springs, Florida, next week for Champions League

Led by head coach Martin Sojka, this HK Dukla team of 2008s has dominated youth hockey in Slovakia with a 12-0-0 record. With scores so out of this world, one would think it’s a typo; 14-2, 20-6, 30-4, 46-0, 55-0! Fifty-five to nothing! The 13 skaters that suited up for Dukla that night combined for 124 shots and every player scored at least one goal.

It is a baffling score, but it illustrates Dukla’s sheer dominance in the region. While the competition at Champions League will be night-and-day different from the double-digit victories they’ve accrued in Slovakia, opponents at next week’s tournament can be assured they’re facing the best that this country has to offer. 

“My expectation is that we will compete in every game and every shift,” said Sojka. “I do want to see one-hundred percent effort and dedication from each player towards our team.”

It starts up front with powerful forwards like Geonhu Ra, Timothy Kazda and Juraj Jonas Ďurčo, who lead the team scoring. Michal Jakubec, Tomáš Miroslav Kubis, Michal Maršálek, David Franz Niederleitner, Samuel Pisarčík and Jakub Slováček give Dukla three solid lines of skill and speed offensively.

Adam Goljer is the lone righty among a defensive group full of lefties. Jakub Syrný leads the group in scoring, while Dominik Chudoba, Filip Kovalčík, Benedikt Alexander Stadlmann and Šimon Šuranyi round out the unit.

HK Dukla is the only team in the field to travel with three goalies, and will have plenty of options with Dávid Dvořák, Nicko Zakk Havel and Filip Vavro between the pipes. 

“It is a huge honor for us to play at the event where we can play against the best teams of the world in the ‘08 age group,” said Sojka.

They open up with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings on day one of the tournament. Matchups with Järved IF and Kiekko Espoo on day two and then games with Yale Jr. Bulldogs and Windy City Storm to conclude pool play. HK Dukla Trencin faces its biggest challenge of the season next week at Champions League. Be sure to follow World Hockey Hub on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for continued coverage of the tournament, upcoming features, highlights and recaps, and so much more!

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