Silver shines like gold
Silver shines like gold
Second place never looked so good for Hungary
But it ended being the clearing that was heard from Krakow all the way to Budapest as the puck crossed the goal line with four seconds left on the clock and the Tauron Arena Krakow exploded as over 3,000 Hungarian fans went ballistic.
With Sziranyi’s empty-net goal Hungary capped off a thrilling 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A where they finished second behind Kazakhstan. The two teams will be playing in the top division next year in Russia.
In the on-ice celebration no one would have guessed that this team had just finished second in a six-team tournament. However, for Hungary and for Hungarian ice hockey was a big deal.
After the last promotion in Sapporo in 2008 hockey in Hungary not only got a boost from fan support but also from the government. The saying what you put in is what you get out has never been truer than on Saturday as there were four players aged 20 years and younger on the ice. They were the ones who truly benefited from the growth of the sport with the support of a solid youth program that has been developed under the leadership of Glen Williamson.
Players such Csanad Erdely, the youngest one on the team, came out of the program, kept on repeating unbelievable over and over again in the locker room. Peter Vincze couldn't believe he was on the team and that they actually pulled it off. Balazs Sebok said he doesn't even really remember the game and the week itself was like a Hollywood film.
During the postgame celebration words like other phrases were repeated such as where to go from here and how can we top this.Continue reading
“This has been a crazy season and I’m honoured to be a part of this team,” said Andrew Sarauer. Assistant coach Gergely Majoross, who just lead his club team Miskolc to three trophies and added a silver medal to the season total, said he doesn't know what he did to deserve all of this in one season.
Miskolc players Balazs Goz and Krisztian Nagy, who are 22 and 20 years old respectively, were in shock as they both said they don't know how anything can top this past season.
Tyler Metcalfe, who became a Hungarian citizen only recently, said that this was the biggest accomplishment in his hockey career and only wished that his grandfather, who was Hungarian, could have seen this.
Of course this team was not just about the young players, there was also a core group of veterans who had been on that legendary 2008 team. “I don't know what to say maybe you should talk to the guys who have been here before,” said Balint Magosi. He was referring to Andras Benk, Csaba Kovacs and the Vas brothers Marton and Janos.
“You can't get sick of this, this time it might have been a bit better than in 2008 because we could do this in front of so many fans,” Kovacs said after the game. Andras Benk added: “Peter Vincze was asking me yesterday what it was like to be promoted in my first year, and I told him we better talk about it after the game.”
Benk went on to say: “This was truly a team effort. Everyone did what Coach Chernomaz told us to do, everyone perfectly did what they were asked to do all week.”
This was also one of the common phrases mentioned, that the team came together and everyone put the team goals first and there was no individualism.
40-year-old former NHL veteran Frank Banham, who was playing in his first World Championship event, said: “It's incredible when you achieve what you set out to do after all the hard work you have put in to it.”
Janos Hari, who scored the first goal of the game, added that the Hungarian fans gave them a boost as well. “The atmosphere was great in the arena, which held us getting fired up for the game. We did everything together from the 22 players and the staff, everyone put the team goals first.”
Of course the head coach, the man with the plan, had his own thoughts. “It was almost as if we could feel right from the start of the training camp that this team was going to accomplish something special,” Rich Chernomaz said. What his coaching staff did was also praised over and over again by the players.
After all the post-game speeches the players went outside to greet the fans that had made the trip from Budapest. Istvan Sofron and Daniel Koger were right in the crowd jumping up and down and singing, and if you didn't know any better you would have thought they were two delirious fans.
However, the fact that they still had their full equipment on except for their skates kind of gave them away. Rich Chernomaz said it was unbelievable what kind of fans this national team has.
The team celebrated well into the night on Saturday night. They made it back to Budapest Sunday afternoon where fans were waiting to welcome them home with the brightest silver that Hungarian hockey has ever seen.
A stage was erected where the fans could cheer for everyone individually. You could have had Daniel Kiss sign your shirt, Tamas Pozsgai sign your hat or even pose with the the two goalies Miklos Rajna and Bence Balizs.
The question now is will they be able to keep up with the big dogs. But as Attila Orbán said after the game: “Let's first enjoy this one for a bit.”
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