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Flames join Queen on royal visit to Slovakia

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Guildford Flames logoThe Guildford Flames Ice Hockey club has been selected for the honour of taking part in Queen Elizabeth’s first state visit to Slovakia on October 24th.  The Flames will provide the opposition in a demonstration exhibition match against HK Aquacity ŠKP Poprad who compete in St Extraliga, the country’s top ice hockey league.  Her majesty will join both teams in the pre-game celebrations to help get the match underway.

Poprad is a city in northern Slovakia at the foot of the High Tatra Mountains. It is the biggest town of the Spiš region and the country’s tenth largest city.  That Friday will be a holiday for the city to welcome its Royal guests, which will also include the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.  The ice hockey match between Poprad and the Flames will be free of charge and will be available to school children who will be given the day off studies to take part.

 

The game is a small part of the overall celebration of relations between the respective countries.  The Flames have modelled similar relations for the past several seasons with the joining of top domestically trained talent with players from the Slovakian region, including Milos Melicherik, a former St Extraliga player, who has led the Surrey based club in scoring for 5 consecutive campaigns since his arrival during the off season of 2003.  In the last 5 years, the Flames have iced nine Slovakian nationals, six of which joined Melicherik as the first of the European crew to wear Flames colours during the playoff championship season of 2003-2004.  The club also currently fill non British trained roster spots with a pair of Czech nationals in Lukas Smital and Vaclav Zavoral, while Canadian forward Taras Foremsky skates as the only non European member of the team.

The trip will be the second to Slovakia for Spectrum’s team who held a pre season training camp in the country last month. 

Flames Head coach Paul Dixon discussed the unique opportunity that has been presented to the club:

“It is a rare moment when you take your ice hockey club somewhere and the game itself is very much secondary to the real reasons for the trip and the event.  We are exceedingly honoured to be invited to take part.  To be a small part of a Royal visit is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it is a great chance for every member of our team to do something that we may be talking about with our grandchildren 30 or 40 years from now.  We are also honoured, as a small domestic British club, to travel to an A-pool ice hockey nation at the invite of a team like Poprad who play at a world class level, in a world class league.   On what will be a very special day, it is exciting to step onto the ice with a group of players of that calibre for a demonstration of this great sport.”

Click here to read the original story at the Guildford Flames website

Click here to find out about the city of Poprad at wikipedia.com

 

 

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