Oleski Netreba (Alex), a 1999 birth year player that played for the Jr. Pioneers Midget Minor AA team for the 2015/2016 season, was selected to the Ukraine U18 National Team to compete in the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in Division I Group B.
Alex was one of the Jr. Pioneers team leaders as they just got edged out of the Colorado state championship playoffs by one point. At the end of March, he headed to Ukraine to compete for the 22 roster team for the championships a month later. After dealing with an uncertain fate as he had to compete against players that had already been playing professionally in Europe, Alex was able to stick through the process and officially be a part of the National Ukraine team that competed in Italy for the Division I Group B pool of the IIHF Tournament Championships. After 5 games and a 3rd place finish, Alex did not record any points but recorded an unbelievable experience that he hopes opens up new doors and a continued look for the Ukraine teams of the future.
The Jr. Pioneers Association hopes Alex returns to play with the U18AA team should the Jr. Pioneers field that age group this coming year. Though the majority of the players we celebrate go off to play AAA and Varsity High School hockey, we are proud to be a part of players getting opportunities to play for their country as Alex did this past April.
The Jr. Pioneers congratulate him and the 30 other players this year, and counting, that have been selected to AAA and Varsity HS teams to advanced their careers in the sport of hockey. Though brief for some, they will always be remembered as a Jr. Pioneer.