A group of close to 30 Cowichan Valley hockey players are in Europe testing their hockey skills on an international level.
Keith Mazurenko is one of around eight Ladysmith guys on the trip. He said the two teams of guys go over every couple of years and the trip is organized by a hockey player who used to play professionally in Villach, Austria.
The two teams play various teams of differing skill levels in Austria, Italy and maybe Slovenia. The toughest opponent they’ve played, he said, was of junior A calibre.
“We played a Division three team the one time we went but that is kind of the exception. They’re too young and too fast for us guys.”
This is Mazurenko’s second trip to Europe.
“It was fantastic,” said Mazurenko of the first trip. “You get treated like royalty over there. It’s a beautiful place and there are a lot of real nice places to play hockey.”
Mazurenko said he is looking forward to the ice time.
“We get to play on outdoor rinks up in the mountains in Northern Italy.”
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” said Mazurenko, noting the trip organizer is considering putting a halt to the trips.