One of our very own is feeling pretty golden after the experience of a lifetime in Serbia.

Sheldon Reasbeck, Kapuskasing resident and Assistant Coach of the Serbia U-18 national squad during their International Ice Hockey Federation Tournament says that sums it up pretty well.

Reasbeck’s team not only hosted the Under-18 tourney, but also came out on top, managing to take home the Gold medal, but this was not something that simply should have happened.

He says the opportunity to be a coach on the Serbian team came about in a conversation with a fellow hockey program coordinator from Ottawa, who turned Reasbeck onto the idea of joining him as an Assistant on his Serbian U-18 national team staff.

It took just a forwarded resume from Reasbeck and within three weeks from the date he was in Serbia preparing to coach, though one catch, his Head Coach couldn’t make the trip.

Reasbeck was forced to work with a whole new staff he was unfamiliar with in order to get results.

“Turns out the Head Coach that I was supposed to work with he couldn’t make it, so I ended up working with a Serbian Assistant Coach who was named Head Coach. So I knew no one going into this, so I was going in totally blind and anyways I (said) jump two feet in and see what happens.”

Reasbeck says from the beginning to the end of his experience it was a pleasure to not only pass along what he knew about the game, but to soak in what his fellow coaches and his players could give back to him.

He says it is comparable the talent of hockey to the Midget AAA Kapuskasing Flyers, and maybe more surprisingly, involves the same passion and drive. Reasbeck says that might have been what shocked him the most hockey wise, the relentless passion of the Serbian players.

Reasbeck says his experience has pushed him to want more, and so too has it pushed the Serbians to have him back again.

“They expressed interest in having me for their U-20 team as well, in January I would go coach the Under-20 team for Serbia and then the Under-18 tournament will be at the end of March again so, to just travel and coach hockey is unreal so absolutely I would do it year after year.”

He says as for his experience off the ice, it was quite the destination to take in, as any savvy history buff would know, the Yugoslavian wars of 90’s have left their mark on the country, so it is quite a sight to see, as well as a bit of a cultural shock.

To sum it up, Reasbeck says the entire trip, the hockey, the off-ice, is something he will definitely cherish and look forward to again.