In 2017, the Canadian center David Pacan became the first-ever foreign hockey player to play in Košice. Since then, we have seen six other foreign players, including Pacan to represent HC Košice. The Steelers are getting ready for the new season, and with that, they have eyed the new duo from overseas that will wear their jersey this upcoming season. And the first one of them is Kevin Tansey from Hammond.
"I am back home in Canada. I spend my time working on my CBD company, which I started a year ago," says the defenseman who used to play for Austrian Innsbruck. They ended the season in tenth place, which meant that the team did not make the playoffs. "It was a difficult season, as we had a lot of injuries to key players. We had a good team and worked hard, but with too many players out of the lineup, we couldn't make the playoffs," judges the season the Ontario native Canadian. Not making the playoffs also meant that he could return home a bit earlier and spend his time with his family. And even with all the things that are going on in his life, he still finds time to prepare himself for the new season. "I also enjoy cooking, spending time with friends, yoga, and being outside! For preparations for hockey games, I like shooting pucks, stick handling, and skating. I also spend a couple of hours every day in the gym!"
It is being said that preparations for the new season start the day after the previous season ends. And that applies to the team from Košice too. The team is being run by the general manager Gabriel Spilar is working hard trying to put together an ambitious team. "I have been in talks for a few weeks, my agent negotiated the contract for me. It seems to be a very good fit," says Tansey. After HC Košice had announced the contract extension of their captain Michal Chovan, the announcement of Tansey being the newest addition to their team was next. And it was followed by the announcement of Colton Saucerman joining the team. They both have played for the same organization in their last season! "We are both defensemen with red hair, and we play well together, as well as are good friends! I hope to be able to defend our net with him!”
"I don't know much, besides a few players in the league. I have played in Bratislava before, as they were in the ICEHL. I am looking forward to new experiences! I did have other offers, but Košice seemed to want to win, and I am happy to join!" says the Canadian defenseman about his experiences with Slovak hockey and life in Slovakia. It is not a surprise that Košice signed a defenseman like him. His physical characteristics make him look like he plays more defensively than anything else, but statistics from his last season in Innsbruck say otherwise! "I was happy with my play. Leading the league in goals by a defenseman is something I had never done, excited to score more!"
One could say that Europe is still new to this productive defenseman. He left North America for the first time two years ago, but what was the reason for this decision? "A chance to travel the world and see new places!" says Tansey, who experienced several leagues overseas - from the NCAA, through ECHL and AHL, where he played 47 games. After his successful season in 2018/2019, he joined the Czech team in Znojmo, which played in EBEL that season. "It's different, mostly because of the larger ice surface. It is also different in lifestyle. Besides the languages, it was not hard to adjust, as my family is of European descent," says Tansey about his experience with adaptation to the new and unknown country. The traditional Slovak hockey club from Košice did not make it past the semifinals in the last four seasons, and it looks like it could finally change in the upcoming one! "I hope to win the championship!" says Tansey eagerly.
authors: Silvester Bobko, Miroslava Meličková | graphics: Kristína Prievalská