Evaluation of the season: cadets, youth team, and juniors
The young, perspective hockey players are more and more approaching the desired senior hockey when joining the team of cadets or moving to the juniors and youth teams. However, no transition is easy, and the complexity and style of the game changes significantly. Also, in the previous season the talents playing for HC Košice led by the highly qualified experts tried to fight for the best final placement. We publish an evaluation of the season from the perspective of the above-mentioned categories.
Mainly the hockey players - year of birth 2004 and 2005 - are included in the team of cadets in the current season. However, also younger players were given a chance. Even despite initial uncertainties regarding assignment of the players born in 2006 to the team of cadets, it was shown that also these younger players can fulfill their role and show quality performances against older opponents. We also must not forget two girls. One of them, Nina Hudáková, represented HC Košice also in national jersey. She has been included twice in U18 nomination in the Tournament of Four Countries, has also fought her way in the final nomination for the World U18 A-Category Championship and has also been given a chance in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne.
Our hockey players were again among the youngest teams in the Cadets League in terms of their average age. Nevertheless, they managed to regularly score and did not get lost within the competition of the best teams in Slovakia. Basic part of Group D brought sixteen matches and the players led by Juraj Faith have lost just twice. This brought them second place, statute of the best offensive and second toughest defensive. Our cadets managed to wave the net of the opponent 178 times. On the contrary, just 29 times the puck has been sent beyond the back of the goalkeepers in the jersey of the Košice Club. Real test and tough matches were about to come in the extension part in which 14 best teams of the league competed against each-other. Before an early termination of the season, Košice played eighteen games in which they recorded 7 victories, 3 ties and eight losses. After that, the Steelers finished the season ranked sixth.
When we look at the individual statistics table, the leading player is Tobias Faith. One of the youngest members in the team maintained an average of 2 points per match and altogether he acquired 54 points. Two more players got above the number 50 – forward Theo Kiss (53) a defenseman Leo Eperješi (52). Lukáš Priščák got an attribute “goal-scorer” for scoring 26 goals, and Alex Doša also reached the top ranking in the table. Different names at all positions only prove the overall balance of the cadre.
Implementation Team: Juraj Faith (head coach), Miroslav Marcniko (assistant coach), Jozef Galický (team manager)
Staff: Sebastián Bodnár, Richard Hiľovský, Sebastián Pribula, Marek Ivanecký, Sebastián Mitro, Alex Doša, Marko Vinclér, Jakub Magda, Jessica Šilerová, Leo Eperješi, Jakub Hudec, Jakub Šulek, Dávid Havadej, Samuel Galický, Adam Beluško, René Mandelík, Oliver Orosz, Timotej Varga, Denis Sasák, Oliver Sivák, Aurel Vrašťák, Ľuboš Makó, Lukáš Priščák, Tobias Faith, Michal Liščinský, Filip Janočko, Nina Hudáková, Theo Kiss, Sebastián Zupko
Probably the most successful team of all youth categories was our team of juniors. Before the season, the team set clear goals which everyone managed to not only achieve but surpass noticeably. The pre-season Tournament of Ladislav Troják signaled a potentially successful season. Our boys dominated the tournament without any difficulties, and the trophy stayed at home.
Matches in Kaufland Extraleague U18 were quite tied and the final ranking was only a matter of details. Our boys had to compete hard until the very end to win a leading position. At last, they managed to win the position and enter the play-off with considerable advantages. In the quarterfinals they faced opponents from Banská Bystrica. Rams were not a difficult opponent, so the players of head coach Tomáš Kochan beat the opponent in the shortest possible time. Highly anticipated semifinal game against Slovan Bratislava, for which the cabin itself couldn’t wait, wasn’t played out due to premature termination of the season. Our boys are very sad about it, even more because during the season, they performed very well, their game was much better and they had a real chance to win the championship title, of which the humble players didn’t talk loudly. Quality of offense and clean sheet of defense is a sort of acceptable specialty across all youth categories of HC Košice, and it wasn’t an exception in this case either. Besides the best defense and the second-best offense, the juniors were also the best during shorthanded plays.
The implementation team and the club are happy about the nomination of nine players to play in three representation categories. Peter Repčík, Viliam Kmec, Patrik Jurčák and Rastislav Eliáš were not missing in the U16 representation team. Jakub Demek, Michal Kapičák and Martin Tvrdoň had an opportunity to wear the most valuable jersey in the U17 category, and Matej Jacko and Roman Faith got an opportunity to play in the SR18 representation team thanks to their excellent performances. With 80 points on his credit, Peter Repčík became the leader of individual statistics, and he was also the third most productive player of the league. Besides a status of the most productive player, he also gained a status of the best scorer of the team. The most goal assists produced Miroslav Tvrdoň and Patrik Jurčák dominated the statistics of goaltenders with percentage of achievement 92.99%.
Implementation Team: Tomáš Kochan (head coach), Mojmír Božík (assistant coach), Vladimír Svitek (assistant coach), Jozef Škrak (assistant coach)
Staff: Patrik Jurčák, Adam Rusňák, Roman Kaľavský, Viliam Kmec, Pavol Zůbek, Marko Ragan, Denis Šándor, Marko Vinclér, Antonín Bartoš, Marián Štec, Michal Štefanisko, Filip Mester, Jakub Demek, Samuel Beluško, Alex Novota, Zoltán Novák, Matej Jurčo, Mykhailo Krasnozhon, Lukáš Kaža, Marko Kočkár, Timon Jadrníček, Martin Tvrdoň, Ján Bartoš, Peter Repčík, Oliver Orosz, Jakub Jadrný
More significant changes took place at the end of the previous season in the Junior team as Peter Holaza became the head coach. This year, the team has been made of a group of great ambitious people determined to gain the best possible results for the club. The implementation team aimed to build a cadre, on which each player has its own position, and plays a modern and aggressive hockey based on discipline and fighting spirit.
HC Košice claims that one of its main goals is to create opportunity for the young, namely Košice`s home-grown players, to get on the A-team. This goal concerns especially Juniors, since they are the closest to the Senior team and thus, to achieving their desired aim. At the second Community Forum organized by the club, two Juniors - Samuel Nagy and Roman Faith signed their first professional contracts. Namely the latter gradually managed to find his place among the Seniors and to add some first points to his score in the top competition. But they were not the only players to get a chance. Still just a 15-year old player, Rastislav Eliáš, regularly attended trainings of the A team. It was exactly the Junior players, who formed the backbone of Steelers` cadre in the last previous season`s home match against Zvolen (4-1). It`s all the result of an outstanding and long-term work. When it comes to Košice U20 itself, it was one of the few teams to have finished the season before its cancellation. However, our guys didn`t get through the semi-finals as they weren`t strong enough to defeat Banská Bystrica in a five-game fight, preceded by the 4th place in the standings after the regular part reaffirmed by keeping this position after the play-off as well.
As many as ten players of this age category proved themselves in the most valuable Košice jersey. We are talking about the following players – Martin Bučko, Samuel Hrabčák, Patrik Frič, Samuel Nagy, Juraj Eliaš, Roman Faith, Jakub Demek, Matej Jacko, Michal Kapičák and Rastislav Eliaš. The leader of cadre individual statistics became Gabriel Vereš, both in terms of goals and assists. He has 22 goals and 33 assists on his score. He`s followed by a well-coordinated duo Patrik Frič (49) and Adam Matej (42). We mustn’t leave out Jakub Köver, who has proved himself both by excellent performance and a high number of points won in the top league games while on loan in Spišská Nová Ves. No. 1 among the three goal posts, Rastislav Eliaš, managed to keep his 91.83 SV% and he also gained one shutout.
Implementation Team: Peter Holaza (head coach), Marcel Šimurda (assistant coach), Jozef Škrak (assistant coach), Tomáš Metzger (team manager), Alexander Augustín (fitness coach), Daniel Kičura (fitness coach), Zuzana Tencerová ( physiotherapist), Dušan Strharský (goalie coach)
Staff: Horváth Matúš, Balogáč Jakub, Vadasz Adam, Hnát Adam, Eliáš Rastislav, Palacko Adrián, Sirotňák Samuel, Markuš Adam, Juraško Viktor, Veteška Tomáš, Jobbágy Adam, Lorinc Samuel, Jacko Matej, Kapičák Michal, Köver Jakub, Matej Adam, Vereš Gabriel, Pavlík Samuel, Zahuranec Oliver, Frič Patrik, Olbert Igor, Hrabčák Samuel, Sedlák Jakub, Soľár Dávid, Nagy Samuel, Jakub Simon, Barger Patrik, Eliáš Juraj, Kaža Lukáš, Vaculík Lukáš, Faith Roman, Demek Jakub
We would like to thank each of the above coaches, players, sponsors, parents and all people involved in the functioning and development of cadets, youth teams and juniors. We would like to express our great admiration and gratefulness to them. We believe that also thanks to HC Košice, hockey is becoming an integral part of children’s life and they will continue in the development and representation of our club also in the upcoming seasons!”
(HCKE Media tim : SB)