Travel hockey has brought TJ Dlugos all around the world


For the past thirteen years, junior TJ Dlugos has had the opportunity to travel to miscellaneous places around the country and the world through travel hockey.

Starting at a very young age, TJ would travel all around Michigan to play hockey. Now, TJ finds himself traveling throughout the United States and Europe.

“When I was little, just traveling throughout Michigan seemed like a big deal,” TJ said. “Now, I find myself breaking state borders and U.S. borders; sometimes I just find myself like ‘Wow, I’m actually doing all of this.’”

TJ has been all over Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, as well as all the way to countries in Europe, like Austria, Italy, and Germany. His love for hockey has merged into a new love for traveling and seeing new places.

“Traveling all over has honestly been a great experience,” TJ said. “I’ve been able to see all different parts of the world while doing what I enjoy most.”

Each new place brought a new aspect and view into TJ’s life; he was able to see the world rather than just hear about it.

His eyes were opened to the differences and similarities that exist around the world.

“[The best part of traveling] is definitely experiencing all of the different cultures,” TJ said. “Even in different states in the U.S., I was able to see the different way people live and the different aspects of each new place.”

Among absorbing all of these different cultures, TJ still was able to pick out his favorites. One of the places that caught his attention most was Slovenia.

“In Europe, my favorite place was probably Slovenia,” TJ said. “We stayed in a nice little town surrounded by mountains, and there were castles in the mountains which is something you don’t get to see every day, so it was really cool.”

Another country that holds a special interest in TJ’s mind was Italy. Rather than being left aghast by the natural beauty, TJ was consumed by the different historical structures and alternate lifestyles within the country.

“I also really enjoyed going to Venice in Italy,” TJ said. “We got to sightsee a lot of the city and see a lot of the historical things in Venice, such as the old architecture and art. I also got to experience a lot of the country, like food and fashion.”

Thanks to most skating and hockey games taking place in the morning, TJ was allotted a majority of the day and night to explore and discover all of the things he found special in each new place.

When in a new place hockey has taken him to, TJ always makes sure to take advantage of the time he has away from the game to really get to tour the new atmosphere.

“No matter where I was,” TJ said, “I was always able to find something new or interesting that I wouldn’t see at home. In Europe, my dad and I would just sit and people watch, and I noticed all of these different things from the life I am used to in Michigan.”

Europe was not the only world of new cultures that TJ noticed. Even when he would travel to a place within the United States, or even within Michigan, he would always find himself discovering something new or different.

“Traveling through a bunch of different states in the United States, and even in different parts of Michigan,” TJ said, “I noticed how so many things are different in each place. I realized that you don’t need to leave the country to be immersed in a whole new culture.”

While forming relationships with new places, TJ also found that each trip was an opportunity to improve upon his relationship with his family. He was able to see new parts of the world with the people that are most important to him.

“Each hockey trip was also an opportunity for bonding with my parents,” TJ said. “I was experiencing new parts of the world with them, and no matter where we were, we were always having a great time together.”

TJ has been able to see so many things already in his life. He has encountered many different cultures, seen many different people, and stayed in many different places.

Each place holds a special value within TJ, and he has so much appreciation for all he has been able to experience at such a young age.

“I’ve gotten to see places that most people don’t ever get the chance to see throughout their entire lives,” TJ said. “I always find myself being extremely grateful for that opportunity, along with my parents’ support to make it all happen.”

While TJ has his parents to thank, there is one thing that led to each special opportunity TJ has gotten to travel: hockey.

One sport was able to take TJ to all different places and introduce him to various new aspects of this great big world, and it’s something he remains forever thankful for.

“Traveling for hockey has definitely opened me up to the world,” TJ said. “I met new people, learned new things, and saw new places, which is something I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for hockey.”