Member story: David from SlovakiaIn its 10th season, Eurolanche introduces its members thru the regular weekly series "Member stories".
When David Puchovsky’s childhood friend first told him about the Colorado Avalanche (because he didn’t know any other team), he didn’t know that this would be a moment that would greatly influence his future. He started to follow the Avalanche ever since and saw the Avalanche play on TV for the first time three years later. In 2007, he founded the Eurolanche fan club, currently the most unique fan project in the entire NHL. “One day, I had the idea of uniting all European Avalanche fans. I certainly didn’t expect such an enormous amount of interest. After a year, we finally had our first professional website and went to Denver on our first Eurolanche Invasion,” said David, who remains the fan club’s president to this day.
You will have to opportunity to read more about Eurolanche’s history in the planned book about the fan club, which is why we’ll only mention the fan club’s biggest achievements to date in this part. During Eurolanche’s 10 years of existence, David organized nine trips to Colorado under the name Eurolanche Invasion. The project has without doubt been Eurolanche’s most successful project, as 54 fan club members participated in the Invasions. They attended an astounding number of Avalanche games – 56 games in total. “Organizing each Invasion is rather difficult, because we try to improve the project with each trip. For me, the satisfaction of the participating members is what matters most of all. We organize other projects for those members, who can’t join us on our overseas trips, for example meetings in Europe,” described David.
The vast majority of renowned hockey media have published reports about the fan club. Eurolanche made an appearance on NBC Sports’ live broadcast, as Jeremy Roenick interview Eurolanche’s president. The fan club has also made appearances on Altitude TV, FOX 31, on NHL.com, in the Pro Hockey and The Hockey News magazines and many other North American and European media. The media don’t only publish reports about the fan club’s activities, as Eurolanche’s exclusive player interviews are also very popular. This is where David uses his experience as a former professional journalist – he wrote for the daily newspaper Nový Čas from 2013 until 2015.
The arrest of Andrej Gajdár. David Puchovsky can be seen with a camera in his hand wearing an Avalanche cap.
During his time as a journalist, he covered the main and exclusive daily events. His biggest success was finding three kidnapped Slovak children, who were abducted by their fathers from Slovakia into foreign countries. In both cases, he cooperated with Slovak authorities. “The first case was the case of a 4-year-old boy, who was abducted by his Muslim father for the second time. He brutally assaulted his mother-in-law. I found them both after three months in Budapest. The family of the boy hired two big guys, with whom I’ve been searching the city for days. When we finally saw the kidnapper riding a bicycle, we alarmed the nearby policemen and ran for him. He wanted to escape, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He was subsequently deported from Europe,” said David about the first case.
The second case was much more difficult, as he worked on solving it for more than a year. In 2011, a Slovak father disappeared with his two children during one of their regular meetings. He couldn’t get over the fact that his wife wanted to divorce him. Slovak authorities had no information about their whereabouts. David finally found them in Panama, in Central America, in 2015. “The case was very difficult, as the authorities had no information about the whereabouts of the father of the children, Andrej Gajdár. He also hid on the internet, but he ultimately made one mistake. Upon finding him, I had to work with Slovak authorities to be sure that the authorities in Panama would cooperate with us and extradite him. We’ve been preparing for the whole thing for three months. I went to Panama in March 2015 along with a colleague of mine, a photographer. For three days, we followed Gajdár’s every move. When everything was finally ready, the police took him into custody. The mother could finally get her children back and the father was put into jail,” recalled David.
David wrote a book about both cases titled “Unesesné” (which translates as Kidnapped – to read more about the cases and the book itself, visit www.unesene.sk). In late 2015, he decided to leave his job in the media due to personal reasons.
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21/11/2016 - 21:00