Location: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Host Team: Galkan HC
Year Held: 2018
Overview: One of the most isolated nations in the world, Turkmenistan receives fewer tourists than both Afghanistan and North Korea. It’s also notoriously isolated, with the average outsider knowing very little about what goes on inside. Interestingly, Turkmenistan does have a thriving professional hockey league comprised of teams owned by various government ministries. One of those teams – Galkan HC – is owned by the Ministry of Internal Security and has never lost a game on home ice. We are proud to say that while we didn’t win, we did put on an incredible show for the fans with one game going down to the final seconds (4-2 loss, empty net goal).
The Galkan HC players were some of the most welcoming we have come across, and the city of Ashgabat was a truly unique place to visit. We visited grand monuments and mosques, world-class horse-farms, an underground lake, a remote mountain village and more. But the off-ice trip highlight was undoubtedly camping beside the world’s greatest campfire – the Darvaza Gas Crater.