History of Slovenia Sports Club – SSC (Toronto)
1961 to Present
By: John Kavcic
Slovenia Sports Club – SSC (Toronto) was founded in the early fall of 1961 by seven young Slovenian immigrants, John Kavcic, Joe Berkopec, Martin Vuksinic, Tony Bezjak, Tony Vrsic, Joe Balkovec and Lois Babic. The main objective of forming a sport club was to provide Slovenians a place to meet, play and compete with Canadians in a variety of recreational sports. The first team to represent the SSC was senior hockey, followed by soccer and handball teams. At a later date men’s and women’s volleyball teams were established.
From its inception, SSC achieved many commendable results in competition. The hockey team won several league championships, soccer took second place in Ontario, men’s volleyball took two Ontario volleyball championships and the women also won an Ontario championship. Besides competing successfully in their respective leagues, SSC teams also competed internationally in the USA, Austria, Italy, the former Yugoslavia and on many occasions in their native Slovenia. In 1966, the Senior hockey team was the first team to venture across the Atlantic and competed against teams in Jesenice, Ljubljana, Celje, Zagreb and two Belgrade teams. The soccer team along with men’s and women’s volleyball teams soon followed. In the 1980’s a “Junior” hockey team with Canadian born players visited their parents’ homeland and competed very successfully in many tournaments throughout Slovenia.
SSC trips to Slovenia and former Yugoslavia are summarized as follows:
• Senior Hockey Team -three trips
• Junior Hockey Team -two trips
• Senior Soccer Team -four trips
• Junior Soccer Team -one trip
• Men’s Volleyball Team -four trips
• Women’s Volleyball Team -three trips
Our teams traveling to Slovenia and the former Yugoslavia were always received hospitably with very well organized events that included guided site seeing tours, lectures at various museums and receptions held in our honor at many city halls by respective dignitaries. During one of these SSC tournaments, Her Worship Hazel McCallion, the mayor for the City of Mississauga, Ontario and one of our staunchest supporters, accompanied us on her first trip to Slovenia. Her Worship received a very heartwarming welcome from her counterpart, the mayor of the City of Ljubljana. Most of the players to this day still cherish the fond and unforgettable memories of these trips.
To show our appreciation and gratitude for their numerous invitations and warm receptions, the SSC became involved in hosting and also helping to host several teams from Slovenia and former the Yugoslavia to venues in Canada. We had the pleasure to be involved with the following:
• Yugoslavian National Gymnastic Team.
• Yugoslavian National Hockey Team.
• Slovenian Junior National Hockey Team.
• Junior Soccer Team.
• Pravnik Soccer Team.
• Svilanit Women’s Cycling Team.
Over the years, many Canadian Universities and US Colleges benefited in one way or another with the athletes that came through the ranks of SSC. Eventually, some of these members turned professional in a variety of sports categories and also represented Canada at the Olympic Games.
For the past few years, the club has hosted our Annual Memorial Picnics to honor our deceased players and committee members. At our Annual Christmas Banquet, the “Robert Stajan Memorial Trophy” is presented to the most deserving player or committee member chosen for that year. Originally, dances and banquets organized by SSC were the main source of income for the club, which financed the teams in their various leagues and overseas tournaments. This took considerable effort and sacrifice not only from some of the players but also the many committee members who dedicated their time, expertise and also provided financial support for the love of sport and SSC.
After almost fifty years, the SSC is till going strong and will forever be indebted to its players, coaches, committee members, sponsors and supporters.
Let the SSC “Tradition” continues… History Continued…Click HERE for Women’s Volleyball Page
Click Here for History ContinuedIncludes – Soccer and Hockey History
By John Kavcic