The following article was posted on www.salemnews.com on Tuesday, August 7 featuring former Colgate standout Jake Kulevich
By Phil Stacey
When the opportunity presents itself to play hockey more than halfway across the globe, represent your own country and interact with koalas and kangaroos, you don't turn it down.
Jake Kulevich certainly didn't. The American Hockey League defenseman from Marblehead played for the USA squad that took on Canada for five games in New Zealand and Australia earlier the summer.
"It was amazing, just so unique," said the 25-year-old Kulevich, who signed a contract with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors, the top farm club of the Edmonton Oilers, last month. "It was so cool to be in a completely new setting half a world away with new teammates and against players who are driven the same way you are about the game. It was a once in a lifetime experience."
The 2018 Ice Hockey Classic, sponsored by Stop Concussions Foundation, saw the Americans and Canadians square off five times in five different cities: Auckland and Queenstown, New Zealand, then over to Australia for a trio of contests in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. In addition, an outdoor game was scheduled to take place in Wellington, New Zealand, but a broken pipe at Westpac Stadium cancelled those plans, and the teams put on an event for the fans in attendance instead.
The players that made up the American and Canadian squads were from the NHL, AHL and some who play professionally in Europe or in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. The tournament raised both funds and awareness to help prevent and treat concussions.
Kyle Baun, one of Kulevich's former teammates at Colgate University who has played five games with the Chicago Blackhawks, was talking part in this year's trip and was asked if he knew of anyone else who might be interested.
"I said 'absolutely' as soon as Kyle asked. It was a no brainer," said the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kulevich. "I'm grateful to the game for allowing me to see so many cool places in the world and meet so many interesting people. So to get the chance to play literally on the other side of the planet ... not to take advantage of it would've been a shame."
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