The summer of 2017 in Prague at the Czech Hockey Challenge Cup turned out to be one of the most exciting experiences for me and my involvement with hockey. Little did I know at the time that five players on the team Zoe Barbier was putting together from Europe would become World Champions including herself and I would be coaching them. In addition, the rest of the European players on the team were members of their National Teams.
Originally plans were in place for another person who would coach the NA Stars Team Red but at the last minute he could not come to Prague due to some personal business. At that time, I decided to coach and although I had communicated through e-mails with most of the players prior to arriving in Prague, I can still remember the first time I walked into the dressing room to meet the team. I looked around the room and everyone was so attentive and I said to myself “OMG these girls are real hockey players and I have my work cut out for me”.
Years ago I had the opportunity to coach some great players during the Summer in Boston who were either attending NCAA colleges or were already in the NHL. This was a big difference from coaching Youth Hockey and I had to make a quick adjustment. I soon found it was actually easier because everyone knew their job and we weren’t trying to win the Stanley Cup. However, the common denominator with both teams was nobody likes to lose regardless of what is on the line. I could see and feel that same winning mentality every time I walked into the NA Stars dressing room.
I am not about to single out any particular players because everyone worked as hard as possible the entire tournament and I believe every time you put yourself in these situations it makes you a better player. The NCAA college players I had back then would return to college in September with much more confidence. Why shouldn’t they be more confident? In many cases they were playing on the same line or paired up on defense with legitimate NHL players during the Summer. The same goes for Team Red. I am sure many of the players on our team went back home with not just more confidence but became leaders for their teams.
The bottom line is nothing is ever easy whether it is sports or business or any career you choose to pursue. I have never met a successful man or woman who didn’t pay the price to reach their ultimate goal. Tonight, I will watch more Stanley Cup games and when I look at the faces of most players the furthest thing on their mind is their next contract. They are playing for their team and they are playing for themselves. Win or lose everyone of them will be able to say to themselves “I left it all on the ice”.
This Summer I hope some more players who will be competing at the Czech Hockey Challenge Cup will someday reach their goals in life. They may come from the United States or Canada or Europe but they are all there to build the little bridges to success.

— Founder- Bob O'Connell

2017 Highlights

Na Stars Team Red take home Silver!

Team Photo.jpg




2016 Highlights

NA Stars Team Red wins Gold at the 2016 CHCC!


Vendy Pribylova (Czech National Team/UMaine Hockey East) played for Team Blue of the North American Stars.  She was selected MVP of the entire Czech Hockey Challenge Cup!

Bob o'connell, captain keira goin, and coach stephanie scarpato with the gold, 1st place trophy at the 2016 chcc!

Bob o'connell, captain keira goin, and coach stephanie scarpato with the gold, 1st place trophy at the 2016 chcc!





2015 Highlights

NA Stars featured in the Cohasset Mariner Friday, August 15, 2015

2014 Highlights


August 15th 2014 – The success of the NA Stars girls team did not go unnoticed: a local newspaper recapped the victory over the MK-Martin team from Slovakia in the Czech Hockey Challenge Cup Tournament held in Prague. A special eye was set on Arianna Bacon who was a major contributor in achieving this positive outcome of the game because of her goal.

2013 Highlights



September 2013 – PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – Even during the heat of summer, several members of the Chatham University Ice Hockey Team found a way to compete on the ice. Morgan BecerKimberly Miller, andKaitlynn Smith recently traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to compete in a tournament featuring teams from North America, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

The trip of Cougars traveled to Prague as part of Challenger Tours, which provides women as young as 14 years old the opportunity to play in ice hockey tournaments in Europe. Each team is comprised of high school and collegiate hockey players from the United States and Canada. “I really enjoyed how our teams were made up of players from different colleges, and from different countries,” said Miller. “The opportunity to play against some Olympic-caliber players from Russia really gave us an idea of the speed and skill at the highest level of hockey.”

Becer, a member of the North American Team Red, took the silver medal, losing in the championship game to a team from Russia. Miller and Smith were teammates on the North American Team Blue, whose highlights including overcoming a three-goal deficit in the third period of a game to earn a tie.

“The whole trip was an amazing experience,” said Becer. “Not a lot of people can say they played in a gold medal game against a top Russian team. We may not have taken the gold but I was very satisfied with silver!”

When not on the ice, each team was able to travel throughout Prague and visit some of the most historical venues in all of Europe. All three Chatham players took a tour of the Bohemian Crystal Glass Factory, located in Prague. The tour included information on how the famous crystal is made and the opportunity to purchase crystal items. They also toured downtown Prague, several castles, and even walked across a bridge featured in the movie Mission Impossible.

“Being able to tour downtown Prague and see the history there was amazing,” added Smith. “We had a lot of fun seeing the crystal factory and being able to paint on a wall with other visitors.”


Chatham University, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region.

Consisting of a historic, undergraduate women’s college and graduate and online programs for both men and women, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, the health sciences, and business & entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

Chatham has also demonstrated institutional commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 as a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, has been named to The Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Honor Roll as one of the most environmentally responsible universities in the U.S. and Canada, received a STARS Gold Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and is the alma mater of environmental icon and Silent Spring author, Rachel Carson (class of ’29).


“Thanks to Bob O’Connell and the North American Stars, my daughter had the opportunity to play for the North American Stars at the Czech Challenger Cup Tournament held in the Czech Republic, August 5-11, 2013.  It was a great trip and an awesome experience both educationally as well as competitively.  Lots of sights to see and we learned a lot about the history of the Czech Republic.  We also enjoyed playing against teams with national and Olympic players from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia.  The North American Stars Teams consisted of elite players from Canada and the United States.  Because of this opportunity, my daughter was recruited by one of the most prestigious high schools in Canada and is currently attending 9th grade and playing ice hockey at the varsity level.  Again, this was an incredible experience that led to an even bigger opportunity for my daughter. “

Ben Leong