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Metro Detroit hockey team stranded in Poland trying to get to Germany for flight home

Teenagers stranded after Wow Air suddenly cancels all flights

DETROIT – A group of Downriver teenagers stranded in Poland after Wow Air suddenly shut down isn't expected to get home anytime soon.

The teens are in Poland for a hockey tournament, but now it appears they're in for a much longer adventure.

It's the trip of a lifetime for 19-year-old hockey players from Southgate and Wyandotte. Right now, they don't have specific travel plans, and at best, it's looking as if they'll make it back late next week.

Center Tyler Balogh, of Southgate, and his lifelong friend, Matthew Gilbert, are playing hockey and having fun. Balogh's mother, though, said the uncertainty of the trip home is something they'll never forget.

"They're a little nervous about it," Denise Balogh said. "They just have stuff they have to do for the next few days, so they're trying to stay focused on that."

Even 36 hours after Wow's 11-plane fleet stopped flying, the teenagers and their 18 teammates and coaches have no idea how they're getting home.

"The coach doesn't want to separate the kids onto other flights because he's responsible for these kids if something happens to them out of his sight," Balogh said.

The team needs to get to Germany in order to fly to Boston, but the trip there from Poland is a 10-hour bus ride.

"Most likely they'll just see if they can extend their stay at the hotel they are at until they know where they have to be," Balogh said.

The trip is getting exponentially more expensive by the day, and many of the players have school and jobs back home.

"They'll handle themselves, but being in another country is just very uncomfortable," Balogh said.

She said United Airlines is offering $50 off a flight, but won't offer the rate to the whole team at once.

It appears the earliest the team can get from Germany to Boston is next Friday. The players are hoping another airline steps up to help.


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