In a remarkable journey of ambition and talent, 15-year-old Nela Lopusanova has embarked on a new chapter of her hockey career, leaving behind her homeland in Slovakia to pursue her dreams in upstate New York. The budding hockey star has traded her familiar surroundings for unfamiliar territory, including a new language, teammates, and culture. Hailing from Zilina, Slovakia, Lopusanova made a courageous decision to undertake a 15-hour, 4,300-mile journey to join a hockey program in the United States.
Wearing a Chicago Blackhawks T-shirt, Lopusanova’s excitement was palpable when she learned of her proximity to Buffalo, the hometown of her hockey idol Patrick Kane. Despite her geographic transition, her passion for the game has remained unwavering.
While hockey is her passion, Lopusanova’s claim to fame came from a different sport. In a feat reminiscent of Michigan’s Mike Legg, who made history in 1996 by scoring a lacrosse-style goal during the NCAA Tournament, Lopusanova replicated the feat during the Under-18 women’s hockey championships in January. Her remarkable goal, captured as ESPN’s play of the day, established her as the first female to achieve such a goal in international play.
Even before her arrival in the U.S., Lopusanova’s reputation as a hockey prodigy had preceded her. Upon her first practice with the Bishop Kearney high school Selects Academy, Lopusanova’s enthusiasm was met with recognition from fellow players and passersby alike. As she embarks on this exciting chapter of her hockey journey, Lopusanova’s determination and remarkable skills continue to garner attention, setting the stage for a promising future in the world of hockey.
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