It has been Hockey Night from Croatia every day this week for roughly 30 young players from that country as they experience what life is like in a hockey-crazed city like Edmonton.
Ten to 12-year-old players with the KHL Mladost hockey club have been lacing up their skates every day to learn about how the game is played in Canada this week, including playing two exhibition tilts with the Donnan School’s hockey program yesterday.
“This is a huge experience for the kids and it’s an award for them because they want to be good hockey players, but unfortunately the situation is not as nice as it is in Canada,” coach Renato Kriksic said.
“We have good talent, but usually if the kids are good when they are 14, they leave the country to play in Russia or Austria.”
Dan Auchenberg, a campus director with Donnan School, says Grade 6 students with the school’s hockey program are also getting a taste of Croatian culture during the visit.
“They are a challenging team and you can see they definitely have a passion for the game,” said Auchenberg about the Croatian players.
“You can tell they really model themselves with players in the NHL.”
“It’s fun to play with teams of other parts of the world, and I want to see how they can play,” said Josh Hayden, an 11-year-old left winger from Donnan School.