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Coquitlam hockey player hits the ice in Slovakia

Adam Rockwood played in several minor pro leagues in North America before heading to Europe last year
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Coquitlam's Adam Rockwood is playing for HK Nitra in

The European adventures of Coquitlam’s Adam Rockwood have landed him in Slovakia.

Rockwood, who starred for the Coquitlam Express before heading to the University of Wisconsin and then Northern Michigan University, has five goals and 14 assists for HK Nitra in Slovakia’s Tipos Extraligia, the top rung of pro hockey in that country.

Rockwood signed with KH Nitra after a season in Scandinavia, where he played 24 games with MODO in Sweden’s second division and nine games with Ilves in Finland’s top league.

“He is a creative player,” said HK Nitra director Miroslav Kovacik in a statement on the team’s website. “We believe that our environment will suit him and be of benefit to him like several legionnaires in our country before him.”

Rockwood is one of two Canadians playing for HK Nitra. The other is goaltender Matt O’Connor, a Boston University grad who played one game for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, knocked around several teams in the minor pro American Hockey League and ECHL before heading to Denmark in 2019 then onto to Slovakia the following year.

HK Nitra is based in the city of Nitra, in the western part of Slovakia at the foot of Zobor Mountain. Its population of more than 78,000 makes it the fifth largest city in the country.

The team plays in the 3,600-seat Nitra Arena, although it’s had to play several games this season without fans because of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

HK Nitra was originally founded in 1926 under a different name. It’s been part of the top tier Extraligia since 2003 and won its first league championship in 2015–16. The team is currently in fourth place in the standings.

Meanwhile, Port Moody’s Mark Ledlin has 11 goals and 14 assists for the Rostock Piranhas that plays in Germany’s third division pro league.

Ledlin, whose father Fred played pro hockey in Germany for 13 seasons, has spent seven seasons there since he scored 10 points in 28 games for the Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific Junior Hockey League in 2014–15.

He continued his junior career with the Eisbaren Juniors in Berlin for two more seasons before breaking into the pro ranks with the Hannover Indians in the Germany3 league. He’s since laced up his skates for the EC Kassel Huskies, Herner EV 2007, Bietigheim Steelers and ECDC Memmigen.

But Ledlin, who attended Dr. Charles Best Secondary and played minor hockey in Coquitlam and the Burnaby Winter Club, is perhaps best known for his appearance on the German version of the reality singing show, The Voice, where he impressed the judges enough to earn a second chance on the program’s Comeback Stage.

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