Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – The Esmark Stars U12 AAA Pee Wee Major squad returns home to the U.S. as Champions of the 2022 President’s Cup Tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, having run the table and finishing the tournament undefeated.
Organized by the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of the Bishkek City Hall and the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic, the tournament was held Aug. 23 - 30, at the Bishkek Arena in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The tournament featured teams from Kazakhstan (2), Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Romania, Uzbekistan and the Esmark squad.
"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,” said Stars founder and general manager Dave Kosick,
“We have enjoyed a rich history of international competition and are excited to now add the Kyrgyz Republic to the list of destinations in which we have participated.”
The Stars opened the round-robin President’s Cup Tournament with a 12-2 win over Uzbekistan on Saturday, Aug. 27. Connor Eich was named player of the game.
On Sunday, Aug. 28, the Stars returned to the ice for a pair of games. First up the Stars grabbed a 4-3 win over Team Romania. Zeke Fagan was named player of the game.
Then on Sunday evening the Stars returned to the ice and skated to a 4-3 OT win over the Kazakhstan National Team. Xypher Zamias was named player of the game.
On Monday, Aug. 29, the Stars again had a pair of games. In the morning, the Stars skated to a 10-3 win over Rakthimzhan, from Kazakhstan. Jordan Lucca was named player of the game.
Later Monday evening, Aug. 29, the Stars improved to 5-0-0 with a 12-1 win over Latvia. Asan Abdygulov was named player of the game.
The Stars closed the tournament on Tuesday Aug. 30, with a perfect 6-0-0 record as they grabbed a 3-0 shutout win over the host team Alga (Kyrgyzstan).
The Tournament also featured opening (Aug. 27) and closing ceremonies (Aug. 30), both after games featuring the Stars, as well as “Player of the Game” presentations for each game.
“Our participation in the President’s Cup Tournament afforded the Stars program, our players and our 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," Kosick said.
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.
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.
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