By Nathaniel A. Oliver
Buffalo Beauts rookie defender Lenka Čurmová made history in more ways than one during the NWHL’s opening weekend. Not only did she become one of the first two Slovakian-born players to appear in an NWHL game, but she became the first player from her country to score an NWHL goal.
For her goal and tremendous all-zone performance in the Beauts’ season-opening 3-1 victory over the Whale on Oct. 5, Čurmová has been named the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week. Coincidentally, the honor is for her play during the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
Čurmová was surprised by the honor of being named POTW, but was ecstatic just the same.
“I can’t believe it!” she said. “To play in the NWHL is incredible, and I really appreciate being named as Player of the Week. I am honored to play for the Buffalo Beauts, and excited for what the season has to hold.”
The 22-year-old defender scored Buffalo’s first goal of the game with a point-shot on the power play. Čurmová would finish the game having recorded two shots on goal and being a plus-1. She also appeared to be all over the ice when it came to puck battles, getting her stick in the way, and forcing the Whale skaters away from the Buffalo net.
“Lenka is the ‘Never Quit Kid,’” said Beauts head coach Pete Perram. “She was extraordinary – not just scoring our first goal of the season, but being a catalyst to the winning spirit the entire game.”
Čurmová may be a rookie in the NWHL, but she has significant experience. She has played for Slovakia internationally at the U18 and Women’s National Team levels in IIHF competition since she was 15 years old. She represented Slovakia at three U18 Division I-B World Championships, serving as an alternate captain in 2014 and team captain in 2015. In the 2015 tournament, she earned Best Defender honors, led all defenders in assists and points, and led the team to a bronze medal. She also played for the Slovakian Women’s National Team at five World Championships and one Olympic qualifier, captaining the team in 2018.
In the Elite Women’s Hockey League, Čurmová was 1-21-22 in 56 games with SKP Bratislava, where she was teammates with fellow Beauts Iveta Klimášová and Mariah Fujimagari. Čurmová played seven seasons for ZHK Sarisanka Presov in Slovakia’s premier women’s league, going 5-28-33 in 77 games.
Čurmová called her signing with the Beauts and joining the NWHL “a dream come true.” Needless to say, after her head-turning debut, Buffalo is just as ecstatic that Čurmová is a Beaut.
The Beauts play the Pride in back-to-back games at Boston’s Warrior Ice Arena on Oct. 12 and 13. Tickets for all games, including Buffalo’s home opener on Oct. 19, are available at www.nwhl.zone/tickets.
Photo Credit: Bryan Johnson