Coming (Back) to America

Know Your Bobcat – Huba Sekesi

Throughout the months of August and September, will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment features second-year league veteran and first-time Bobcat Huba Sekesi.

Name: Huba Sekesi

Position: Forward

Hometown: Munich, Germany

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 185 lbs.

2012-13 Team: Jamestown Ironmen

2012-13 Stats: 35 GP, 4 G, 12 A, 16 PTS, +3, 64 PIM

2012-13 International Competition: Team Germany, 2013 World Junior Championships (Top Division)

Favorite Book: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Favorite TV Show: NHL 24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic

Highlight of 2012-13: “When we got to the North Division playoffs last year, we were the #2 seed but swept through the second and third rounds and won our way to the Robertson Cup in Frisco.”

Turning Point

Looking up and down the Bismarck Bobcats’ training camp roster, the black and gold have 14 players with Robertson Cup experience; one of them is former Jamestown Ironmen forward Huba Sekesi.

As an Ironman, he was part of one of the more remarkable runs in the 2013 postseason as the Jamestown crew ripped through the deep North Division playoffs, knocking out the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings and Soo Eagles with consecutive sweeps to reach the franchise’s first Robertson Cup.

Though their run started on the second weekend of April, the roots of their tear can be traced to their March 30 season finale at home against the expansion Johnstown Tomahawks and, oddly enough, former Bobcat Cody Boyd.

“In the first period of our last game of the season, our best player, Luc Gerdes, got knocked out by a hit up high,” explained Sekesi, “and things were tense but not crazy until one of their players (Boyd) started celebrating the hit in front of their bench and that started a brawl where guys came off our bench to step up for Luc.”

Sekesi notched an assist and a +1 rating as the Ironmen rallied from a 1-0 deficit at the time of the melee to close the season with a 2-1 home victory.

“We probably only had three lines and five ‘D’ after the fight but we still fought back and won the game,” recalled Sekesi. “It was one of those moments where we came together as a team and realized that we were all in there, fighting for our brothers.”

That galvanizing moment propelled the Ironmen into the playoffs as Jamestown thumped Kalamazoo in three straight, outscoring the Jr. K-Wings 12-3 in the series sweep.

With the regular-season division champion Soo Eagles looming in the next round, the confident Ironmen were considered the underdog in the North Finals.

“Everywhere you looked, every blog, every article said that we might be able to win one game,” pointed out Sekesi. “We just put that right on the bulletin board.”

Three games, 12 goals and one more sweep later, the Ironmen found themselves with plane tickets to north Texas.

“We were a family, we were so tight by the time the playoffs started,” exalted Sekesi. “We had a group of guys that had each other’s backs and a coach (Dan Daikawa) that did everything to help us succeed and that’s what you need to be a National Tournament team.”

Brightest Lights

Nine months ago, Huba Sekesi found himself on the biggest stage imaginable for a hockey player under age 20: playing for Team Germany at the IIHF’s World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling, stepping out there on the ice against some of the best young players in the world,” marveled Sekesi. “We had top draft picks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Seth Jones and Nail Yakupov in our group.”

Group play would be a rough go for the Germans, who took big losses to the USA (8-0), Russia (7-0) and Canada (9-3) en route to a record of 0-3-1.

Despite finishing at the bottom of Group B, Sekesi learned a lot from the high level of competition.

“Watching some of the guys we went up against, I saw what it takes to be a leader at the highest level,” stated Sekesi. “I was so impressed with Nugent-Hopkins; sometimes things wouldn’t be going his team’s way and there he was pumping up his teammates and doing the little things. There were some other big-name guys in leadership roles that were more selfish. It was a big eye-opener, to see things that worked and didn’t work on such a huge stage.”

Germany posted a 1-1-1 record in the relegation round, earning their spot in 2014’s top division in Malmo, Sweden.

Sekesi didn’t stop there, though, racking up 12 points on two goals and 10 assists in 22 games after returning from Ufa; he had just four points in the preceding 13 games.

“Playing in such an important hockey event and representing my country really fired me up for the rest of the season,” related Sekesi, who also produced a goal, an assist and a +3 rating for the Ironmen in the 2013 playoffs.

A New Start

When the 2013 Robertson Cup Tournament came to a close, it was known within weeks that the Jamestown Ironmen franchise would go dark, leaving Huba Sekesi and his western New York teammates free agents dotting the NAHL landscape.

“Talking with my teammates who were 1993 [birth years], we all had decisions to make on where to go for our last season,” remembered Sekesi, who returned to Munich during the 2013 offseason. “Talking with [current Bobcat] Tyler Dunagan, he told me that he had a good relationship with the Bobcats’ assistant coach, Garrett Roth, and that Bismarck would be a great place to finish my junior career.”

Eventually Sekesi, Dunagan and fellow Ironman Kenny Curtis would make a pact to play together for their final year in the league, and they would play together in black and gold.

For his part, the German forward says the biggest determining factor for him was the program’s rich history.

“You look at the Bobcats: they are entering their 17th year as a team,” analyzed the 19-year-old veteran, “and they have moved 200 guys onto the NCAA in that time. I want to play college hockey next year, and being a Bobcat puts me in a great position to do that.”

But for now, his goals remain focused on 2013-14.

“Training camp has only really just started but guys are already going all out and we’re coming together and getting tight, as a group,” revealed Sekesi, who—along with the rest of his Bobcat teammates—took the ice for the first time Monday. “It’s a great group of guys that we have in our locker room and I think we have what it takes to get back to the Robertson Cup and bring it home.”

Stay tuned to over the next month-plus as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2013-14 season. This week we’ll also sit down with Jared Dedenbach, Tucker Windels, Matt Perry, Dylan Parker, Nick Wallace and Cullen Willox.