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Recent U16 AAA Esmark Stars News

Special pre-game ceremony

Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, in conjunction with the international group Friendship Bridge Association, will hold a special ceremony to honor slain University of Pittsburgh student Alina Sheykhet on Friday, Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington, PA.

The event will take place prior to the U16 AAA Esmark Stars game as they play host to the U16 AAA Indy Jr. Fuel.

The Stars will wear special uniforms featuring "Alina's Light" (a charitable organization established to honor Ms. Sheykhet) for the game, honoring Alina's memory. In addition, a special presentation will be made to the parents and family of Ms. Sheykhet prior to the game.

The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Sheykhet, who had emigrated to the United States from Russia with her parents as a young child, was murdered, on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, by a former boyfriend who has since been convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the brutal crime.

Originally from Ivanovo, Russia, Sheykhet was a 2015 graduate of Montour High School.

The then 20-year old sophomore student at the University of Pittsburgh is survived by her mother, Elly, father, Yan, and brother, Artem.

The Sheykhet's are friends with U16 head coach Yuri Krivokhija and his wife Alona.

Information regarding and donations towards Ms. Sheykhet's charity "Alina's Light" can be made on-line at (

Alina's Light was created to honor Alina's life by supporting the causes that were important to her, as well as raising awareness and promoting education on topics related to domestic violence. Alina's Light also promotes the passage and implementation of laws policies that protect victims of domestic violence, such as Pennsylvania House Bill 588, which has been titled "Alina's Law."

Gorscak to attend Niagara University

Pittsburgh, PA - The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that former Esmark forward Christian Gorscak has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Niagara University Purple Eagles of the Atlantic Hockey Association.

Gorscak, a native of Jeannette, PA, skated for the 16U AAA Esmark Stars during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, during which he registered 159 points (77 goals and 82 assists) in 141 games played.  Those numbers included 60 points in 48 career games in NAPHL action. 

During the 2016-17 season, he helped the Stars to the NAPHL 16U Dixon Cup Championship, appeared in the NAPHL 16U All-Star Game, and was named to the All-NAPHL 16U First Team.

He signed a tender with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) following his second season on the Stars 16U squad

Through 12 games this season, his third season with the Johnstown, Gorscak (185 lbs., 5’11"), has registered 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists), and is the current team leader in assists and tied for third in assists in the entire NAHL.

In three seasons of playing in the NAHL, Gorscak has appeared in 114 career regular season games and recorded 48 points.

"It is so great to see Christian rewarded with his commitment to Niagara University. He is a first class human being and his play on the ice has spoken for itself," said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.

”When we tendered Christian as a young rookie from the Esmark Stars U16 program out of the NAPHL, we knew he was a talented player, but it was remarkable to see his maturity at a young age. He has improved his game in various ways each season while maintaining his infectious positive attitude and team first mentality. I am extremely happy for him and his family because he truly deserves this. Niagara University is not just getting a great hockey player, but more importantly, an incredible person," Letizia added.

Gorscak is part of a growing number of Ladder of Development players that began playing in the NAPHL and have seen their careers move onto the NAHL and then eventually, NCAA Division I college hockey.

Since 2000, the Niagara University Purple Eagles have four NCAA tournament appearances, and have clinched four Conference Regular Season Championships and Three Conference Tournament Championships.

Gorscak's commitment begins with the 2021-22 collegiate season, affording him the opportunity to remain with the Tomahawks through this year and the 2020-21 season.

Three Stars Honored

The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) has announced its Apex Learning Virtual School Peak Performers for the month of September.  The players were selected based upon their performance at the first NAPHL event of the season, which took place in Blaine, MN, Sept. 19-22.

Stats were based on all games played at the opening league showcase.

Peak Performers selections were awarded only to full-time NAPHL players in the High Performance and Elite Divisions.

In the Midget U18 AAA Division, Esmark Stars defenseman Dustin Geregach and goaltender Danny Mitchell were both honored.

Mitchell was selected as the number two goaltender and Geregach as the number three star for U18 defenseman for their performances in Minnesota.

At the opening NAPHL event, Geregach tallied 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists), including a power play goal.  While Mitchell appeared in two games stopping 48 of the 52 shots he faced with a goals against average of 2.00 a save percentage of .923% and recorded a record of 1-1-0-0, in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Magicians Elite and 1-0 loss to the Nashville Jr. Predators.

In the Midget U16 High Performance AAA Division, Esmark Stars forward Adis Ultanbekov was honored, as he was selected as the number three star for U16 forwards.

At the opening Minnesota Showcase, Ultanbekov tallied 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists), including one power play goal, in helping the U16 Stars to a 3-1-0-0 record. He scored in each of the Stars four games played at the event.

With more than 100 online high school courses and 20 years of experience, Apex Learning Virtual School offers players the opportunity to be both successful academically and available for practice and travel. Rigorous curriculum and the support of expert online teachers provide a strong academic foundation. The flexibility to complete online course work when and where it is convenient means school can fit with player's hockey commitments. Enrollment options include full time to earn a diploma and individual courses to fulfill specific requirements. For players wanting to qualify for Division I and Division III college teams, courses approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are offered.