Being miles away from home is something Slovakian National Team players Iveta Klimasova and Lenka Curmova are used to. However, playing an entire ocean away is a bit of a different story. After months of adapting to a new culture and a new team in the Buffalo Beauts, the pair was able to reunite with their families during the final home weekend of the regular season.
Both families came prepared, decked out with a Slovakian flag and printed letters spelling out “IVETA” and “LENKA” and flipping them any time one or the other happened to be on the ice for a shift. One dad even brought a noisemaker that could be heard clear across the rink, making for a boisterous and happy experience for the forward and defender.
There is a Slovak contingent here cheering on the dynamic duo of Curmova and Klimasova. Love it. pic.twitter.com/FM4hRSFZtT— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) February 22, 2020
“It was a really good feeling that they are finally here after five months,” Klimasova said. “It was exciting because they were watching on Twitch all the time, but it’s not the same.”
The trip, about two months in the making, lasted about a week, during which Klimasova and Curmova showed them around the 716 and beyond, even making a trip to Niagara Falls during an especially sunny day. The sight of family was a welcome one for each, with Klimasova mentioning they weren’t able to go home for Christmas, “so it was finally fun to see them after all these months.”
Curmova said via email that having traveled for hockey all across Europe, she’s used to being away from her family for long periods of time. But she still appreciated having her dad in the same town for a brief while, adding, “I think he had a great time in Buffalo.”
While neither she nor Klimasova have yet found the words to compare Buffalo with their hometowns of Michalovce and Pravlovce, respectively, each has found things to like. Klimasova mentioned the size and lack of traffic, while Curmova was able to make one comparison that says a lot: “What I love on both is that people and fans are incredible, and they live for sport.”
Live for sport Buffalo does, and it has fully embraced the two as fan favorites after watching them play all season. Still, Klimasova says, it has been helpful to have a fellow countrywoman in Curmova to fill the gaps when she’s missing home or feeling overwhelmed.
“It’s definitely really helpful that we are here together,” she said. “Just like… [with] language, it’s hard sometimes to understand everything in English, so it’s really good to have someone to talk in my language.”