Esmark 12U team set for International Tournament | North American Prospects Hockey League | NAPHL
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Esmark 12U team set for International Tournament

August 26, 2022

The schedule for the 2022 President's Cup U12 Pee Wee Major Tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where the U12 Esmark Stars AAA team will be participating, has been announced.

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, at the Bishkek Arena in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

"We are very excited to welcome the Esmark Stars U12 AAA team to Bishkek and for them to see our country and experience Kyrgyz culture," said Asel Abdygulova, vice-president of the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic. “We have worked hard to develop ice hockey in Kyrgyzstan and this event will help us gain significant momentum in that effort ... the international prestige of Kyrgyz ice hockey is growing."

"We are honored to have been invited by the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic to participate in this event," said Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Founder and General Manager Dave Kosick. "Our organization, players and families are excited for their upcoming adventure."

The Esmark Stars U12 team will be joined in the seven-team tournament field by teams representing: Romania, Kazakhstan (2), Latvia, Uzbekistan and the host club Alga from Kyrgyzstan.

The Stars open play on Saturday, Aug. 27 with a 3:45 p.m. game against Uzbekistan.

The tournament schedule for the Stars:

Saturday, Aug. 27, 3:45 p.m., vs Uzbekistan
Sunday, Aug. 28, 8:45 a.m., vs Romania
Sunday, Aug. 28, 7:15 p.m., vs Kazakstan II
Monday, Aug. 29, 10:30 a.m., vs Kazakstan I
Monday, Aug. 29, 5:30 p.m., vs Latvia 
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2:00 p.m., vs Alga (Kyrgyzstan)

The Tournament will also feature an opening (Aug. 27) and closing ceremony (Aug. 30), both post games featuring the Stars. 12U squad.

"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."

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.

"When I founded the Stars program in 1984 one of the guiding principles was to create a program which allowed our teams and players to visit and participate in international tournaments and showcases," Kosick added. "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 nations we have never competed against before."

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.

"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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