Matej Stransky skates across the ice between the blue and red lines before a Texas Stars home game against Stockton. From the stands, the warm up looks like a simple routine. But for Stransky, it’s another small step in a journey that has brought him 5,645 miles from his East European home.

The American Hockey League has 105 European players in the 2015-16 season. Just over a quarter of the 898 National Hockey League players are from overseas. At 22, Stransky hopes to become the first member of his family from the Czech city of Ostrava to compete in what is considered the best hockey league in the world.

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