Esmark 12U team prepares for tournament in Kyrgyzstan | North American Prospects Hockey League | NAPHL
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Esmark 12U team prepares for tournament in Kyrgyzstan

August 15, 2022

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey U12 Pee Wee Major team (2010 birth year) is making final preparations for its upcoming trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to participate in the 2022 Presidents Cup International Tournament.

The tournament, which is being organized by the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of the Bishkek City Hall and the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic, will be held Aug. 23 - Sept. 2.

“In recent years, the development of ice hockey in Kyrgyzstan has gained significant momentum," said Asel Abdygulova, vice-president of the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic. "The international prestige of Kyrgyz ice hockey is growing."

"Every year, several open competitions are held in Kyrgyzstan among youth teams, in which clubs from abroad take part. Additionally, our teams travel internationally to participate in competitions, including an amateur tournament featuring a U12 division in Pittsburgh early this year," Abdygulova added.

Other participating teams scheduled to compete in the 2022 President's Cup Tournament will be coming from Estonia, Romania, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and from the host country Kyrgyzstan.

"We are delighted to be invited by the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic and to participate in this event," said Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Founder and General Manager Dave Kosick.

The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey program, based in Pittsburgh, PA, and founded in 1984, is one of the oldest Tier I AAA Programs under the USA Hockey umbrella and the oldest Tier I AAA program in USA Hockey's Mid-American District. The nationally and internationally recognized amateur hockey club provides elite level amateur hockey players exposure on a regional, national and international stage.

"When I founded the Stars program in 1984 one of our founding principles was to create a program which allowed our teams and players to visit and participate in international tournaments and showcases. This event will continue that tradition and afford the Stars program and families an opportunity to not only travel to the Kyrgyz Republic, but also a chance to meet and compete with amateur clubs from nation's we have never competed against before," Kosick added.

The Stars program has previously participated in Tournaments and Showcases in several international destinations, including: Austria, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. The Stars last traveled abroad in August of 2019 to Nizhnekamsk, Russia, pre Covid outbreak.

"We have enjoyed a rich history of international competition and are excited to resume international play as we add the Kyrgyz Republic to our list of destinations in which we have participated," Kosick added.

"This is an exciting opportunity for our team," said Stars U12 head coach Nate Nehnevajsa.  "And we are so very proud to carry on a rich tradition that the Stars program has developed over the years."

Now in their 38th year of operation, the Esmark Stars program provides elite level ice hockey training and development designed to allow each player to maximize their potential while providing a showcase for athletes for junior, collegiate and professional opportunities ... all while providing constructive lessons that allow them to excel in life.  The Stars program is proud members of both the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) and the Tier 1 Hockey Federation (T1HF).

"What a great way for the Stars to kick-off our 38th year celebration," Kosick offered. "The trip to the Kyrgyz Republic will allow the Stars program to continue to celebrate the fabric and history of our program ... dating back to our inaugural season in 1984 and playing in Finland."

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