Terry Conners Ice Rink celebrates 40 years of youth hockey exchange program

Patty Healy said her father back in 1983 wanted to create a cultural exchange program with other youth hockey players.

Tom Krosnowski and Robyn Karashik

Feb 24, 2024, 11:26 PM

Updated 53 days ago

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Terry Conners Ice Rink celebrated its 40th year of its international exchange program on Saturday with a youth hockey jamboree.
Patty Healy said her father back in 1983 wanted to create a cultural exchange program with other youth hockey players. He then put advertisements in newspapers across Sweden, Norway and Finland. That’s when they first started talking to the Stockholm Danderyd Enebyberg (SDE) team.
Each nation takes turns hosting. Last year, the Stamford Sharks headed to Stockholm.
“It wasn’t so much about the hockey as just building strong friendships and bonds with their team,” said Jakob Zelazny, a Sharks defenseman.
“Learning each other’s culture, learning about their food,” said Tammy Comstock, the program co-coordinator. “The kids get to go to school with their player.”
Players pointed out food they enjoyed like meatballs and salmon and how they were looking forward to spending more time with each other.
“It’s fun to see the culture,” said Maria Wiboa, a defenseman.
Parents also shared what their children told them they had learned and enjoyed most while being overseas.
“In just one week over there, he got an appreciation for something he would have never have gotten otherwise,” said Dan Zelazny.
This year, the team got to present their own slice of Stamford and the east coast.
“We have some trips up to West Point, we are going to a Rangers game and they’re going to the 9/11 museum,” Comstock said.
Those who made this trip decades ago said they still stay in touch with the friends they made overseas, even if the way they do it has changed.
“It wasn’t easy back then, we’d have to write letters that went back and forth,” said Nick Bergara, a program alumni.
Olle Falck, a forward on the ice, said their friends talk over Snapchat or play video games together.
“Teenagers in Sweden and teenagers in Stamford are pretty much alike,” said Madeleine Framberg.


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