About as far from Brampton and Ottawa as you can get in the world of hockey is Temirtau, Kazakhstan. Just a “Detroit to Montreal’s” distance from Mongolia and China, this city of 180,000 didn’t even exist before 1905. The team plays out of the ten team Kazak league and features two Ontario Hockey League grads on the roster.
Levente Szuper started his 2011-12 season in the Central Hockey League with the Arizona Sundogs. This ‘hockey vagabond’ is no stranger to the wide world of ice hockey. Since playing two seasons in net for the Ottawa 67’s in 1998-99 and 1999-00, Szuper has played in Canada, the United States, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Austria. He has played on the world stage with his native Hungary on a yearly basis.
Levente was a fourth round pick of the Calgary Flames at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 116th overall. He spent three seasons with Calgary’s AHL affiliate, the Saint John Flames, and one season split between the AHL’s Worcester IceCats and the ECHL’s Peoria Rivermen before starting his world tour. He has been a member of championship teams in the Ontario Hockey League, Germany’s DEL and the AHL. With Hungary, he has won a handful of medals and individual accolades at the World Championships (D1). He played a role with the 1998-99 Ottawa team that was crowned Memorial Cup champions.
Kurt MacSweyn has been on a similar world journey since leaving the Ontario Hockey League after the 2001-02 season. Kurt was an original Brampton Battalion, playing in the franchise’s first year, 1998-99. He spent four years with the club before heading off to University at St. Mary’s. After three years getting educated, MacSweyn spent the 2005-06 season in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads before heading to Europe, and beyond. Kurt has played in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Australia. 2011-12 is his first season with Temirtau.
Arystan Temirtau currently sits in fourth place in the ten team league, 38 games into their 54 game regular season schedule. In 2010-11, the team finished fifth and exited the post season after the quarter-finals. The Kazak league would best be described as a minor league to the KHL. The team plays out of the 2,700 seat Muz Aydin Sport Palace.