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Chernyk, Ukrainian Sport Club (USC) Detroit is a non-profit organization comprised of Ukrainian-American sports enthusiasts within greater metropolitan Detroit.
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Ukrainian Sport Club “Chernyk” annual membership dues, per family, including children up to 18 years of age, are $20.00 per calendar year.
All active and associate members are required to fulfill this obligation for participation in our programs.
50+ YEARS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE
Table of Contents
Track & Field
During the post-World War II immigration, Ukrainians settling in the Detroit area felt that friendship and camaraderie of sports was an important social outlet. Through the efforts and inspirations of Z. Tarnawsky, A. Nakoneczny, Y. Wirstiuk, M. Makar, and M. Tomyn, the Ukrainian Sports Club "Chernyk" was organized in Detroit in November 1949, originally under the club name "Vovky." The following year in November 1950, it was officially named in honor of the hero, Fedir Chernyk, (1894-1918) who as a youth with a slender frame, was determined to build a strong and enduring body through training in sports. Through his perseverance he wanted to show that a person's will and determination can formulate not only physique but also the human spirit. He became very strong physically and mentally. He excelled in school, was double promoted into higher classes in high school and attended the University of Lviv. As a sharpshooter for the "Sitch Riflemen," he fought valiantly for Ukrainian independence and laid down his life during a battle with the Bolsheviks on November 18, 1918.
The USC Chernyk's first clubhouse in the 1950s was located in the former Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Grade School on Grayling in Hamtramck. There was ample room for members to hold their meetings and social gatherings, as well as for chess and table tennis tournaments. On several occasions, the Ukrainian members of the Detroit Red Wings Hockey Team: Dmytro Prystaj, Tony Leswick, Vic Stasiuk, and the great goalie, Terry Sawchuk, visited the club.
In the fall of 1962 USC Chernyk purchased its own building on Davison Avenue in Detroit. With a spacious hall and several meeting rooms, the new clubhouse was a social gathering place for many activities and for all age groups - pizza after soccer games, chess and billiard tournaments, as well dances, just to name a few. USC Chernyk graciously opened its doors to other Ukrainian organizations for the use of the facilities. Both the Saturday school "Ridna Shkola" Preschool and the Ukrainian Bandurist Ensemble met there regularly. In 1978 USC Chernyk sold its Davison property and moved to the Ukrainian-American Center on Carpenter Street in Detroit. Soon many members were moving to the suburbs and club membership began to decline. Subsequently in 1985 when the Ukrainian-American Center sold its aging building, USC Chernyk relocated to the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren.
In 1959 a quarterly journal, "Ukrainian Sports Bulletin," the only Ukrainian sports quarterly in North America was published. It continued publication through seven years under the guidance of W. Kizyma, J. Zubal, and J. Malynowsky, keeping the readers informed of all club matters and sports news throughout the world. Again publication of the club's newsletter was revived in 1995 through the efforts of Diana Omecinsky, editor and publisher. Issued semi-annually, it contained outstanding articles and pictures of club activities, as well as Ukrainian sports throughout the world. Unfortunately after a few years, publications of the newsletter ceased.
Men's Division - With the organization of the club in 1949 a men's soccer team was formed, and became affiliated with the Michigan Soccer League in 1950. In its first year of competition, under the management of M. Tomyn, the soccer team excelled in the league. In subsequent years in the 1950s under the management of M. Yaremych, A. Sawka, J. Slywka, W. Dyhdalo, and Victor Klein, the team won the league championship in seven-a-side tournaments in 1952, 1953, and 1954, won the league championship in 1955 and the league and state championships in 1956, 1957, and 1958.
The Men's First Division Team, under the management of M. Kostiuk, W.Hnatiuk, and C. Shalay, dominated the sport of soccer in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. The team won the league championship in indoor soccer for eight years straight, from 1980 through 1987, without losing a single game and in April 1987 competed in the National Open and entered into the finals in Dallas, where it finished in second place. In outdoor soccer, the team won the league championship four years in a row, from 1982 through 1985. In the Tournament of Champions, the team won the state championship in 1983 and advanced to the Region II championship in 1984. Concurrently in 1983 and 1984, in competition for the U.S. Soccer Federation Amateur Cup, this same team won the state championship, and in 1984 advanced to the regional championship, winning against Hartford, Connecticut. The team attained national recognition when in the finals at St. Louis, the team finished second, losing only to the Dallas, Texas team. This was only the second Michigan team to advance to the finals in sixty years of Amateur Cup competition, (Carpathia Kickers won the cup in 1962) and the only Ukrainian team to advance so far since 1956 (Philadelphia Ukrainians) and 1957 (Rochester Ukrainians). The First Division Reserves were also achievers, winning the league championship in the Bonanza Reserve Division (top division in the league) in 1984. In 1987 under the leadership of sports director, Wolodymyr Hnatiuk, the men's soccer program was reorganized and an all-Ukrainian player roster was established.
Subsequently, men's soccer expanded to four divisions - Second Division, Reserves, Men's Over-30, and Men's Over-30 Recreational, and maintained this status into 2000.
Juniors Soccer - USC Chernyk had a remarkable Juniors team, which consisted of its young players under the age of nineteen. In the 1952 Detroit Free Press Soccer Cup Tournament, the Juniors won the championship and received a lengthy write-up in the Free Press on their victory. In the 1960s USC Chernyk assisted the Michigan Soccer League in organizing the Michigan Youth Soccer League (age group of sixteen to nineteen), of which the club's Juniors soccer team was one of the four charter members. In the early 1960s, the Juniors were managed by Michael Shumylo and subsequently by Petro Halnyj. In 1965 the team did not have a single loss and won the league championship. In 1968 it won both the league and the state championships and competed in the Junior U.S. Cup playoffs, winning the regional playoffs against Madison, Wisconsin, but losing to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the finals. Under the management of W. Dyhdalo, the Juniors team won the league championship in 1972 and 1975, and entered the regional playoffs that June in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1988 during the Millennium of Ukrainian Christianity celebrations and the Ukrainian Olympiad in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the junior team, coached by Christian Shalay and managed by Roma Kohut, won first place and a gold medal.
Soccer - In the 1970s while the First Division, Reserves,
and Juniors soccer teams were doing their best in accumulating
league, state, and regional championships, there was
no organized youth soccer for ages six to sixteen. In
1976 USC Chernyk sports director, Lou Krupiak, was instrumental
in organizing the youth program under the auspices of
the Michigan Youth Soccer League. Four youth teams were
formed with the help of a group of individuals, who accepted
both the role of coach and manager: Under-10 Lou Krupiak,
U-12 Wsewolod "Jeep" Hnatczuk, U-14 Taras Dudun,
and U-16 Walter Lewandowsky. In 1977 all four teams won
the state championship in their age group and went on
to compete in the regional playoffs. In the organizational
stage, the MYSL did not have a program for the youngest
U-8 team, so USC Chernyk U-8 team, which was coached
by Andrew Kachan, and subsequently by Nestor Tatarsky
and managed by Osypa Shalay, played with the Roseville
House League. Then in the following year, when MYSL expanded
its program for U-8, USC Chernyk U-8 joined its rank.
In 1978 this youngest team, U-8, won its first state
and regional championships, while the U-12 and U-16 went
on to the regional playoffs in Cleveland, Ohio.
The club's youth soccer program, under the direction of youth coordinators, Osypa and Christian Shalay, was very strong in 1981, maintaining seven youth teams: Under-8, U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16, U-18 and an U-12 girls' team, which was organized that year and managed by Roma Kohut. During the years of 1982 through 1985, youth coordinators, Ostap and Anna Macielinski, continued a very strong youth program, maintaining eight teams, which in 1984 also included the newly organized U-14 girls' team, which that same year won the league championship. It was also during this period, 1980-1984, that the club organized annual soccer camps at the Dibrova Ukrainian Estate in Brighton. Stanley Litkewycz served as camp director through 1983, when Andrew Kachan and Morris Lupenec took over these duties.
The Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Schools launched soccer into their sports program in 1984. USC Chernyk players joined the school soccer program within the Catholic Youth League (CYO), and playing for other teams was disallowed by CYO. The club's youth program declined, and the schools' soccer program remained very strong until the late 1980s, when it was recognized that a training program was needed to feed the school system. In the fall of 1989, the club's youth teams started to reorganize. In the winter of 1990 the club's sports director, Bernard (Toby) Tobianski, and president, Chris Shalay, organized an U-10 indoor soccer team and the youth program was rejuvenated, having a complete soccer program in 1993. USC Chernyk worked with the Immaculate Conception Schools, setting schedules and playing time that would not conflict with the schools' soccer programs. Also in 1993 a Children's Developmental Clinic for toddlers and parents was organized by Toby Tobianski, which in the following year in 1994 resulted in the formation of the U-6 team. In 1995 the USC Chernyk youth soccer program remained very strong, encompassing seven teams: U-6 Jr., U-6 Sr., U-8 Jr., U-8 Sr., U-10, U-12, and U-14. In the summer of 1996 through the initiative of Diana Omecinsky, a soccer day camp was organized and had a good turnout of 60 children. In the year 2000 the club maintained five youth teams and continued the Children's Developmental Clinic.
Women's Soccer - In 1998 Marta Korol-Skalchuk organized the first USC Chernyk women's soccer team (Over 30), which was coached by Paul Dyhdalo. Because of increased interest, a second women's team, the Women's Open team, was organized and managed by Taissa Kohut-Haidukewych and coached by Paul Prokop.
Great Lakes Cup Tournament - In 1996 USC Chernyk sports director, Wolodymyr Hnatiuk, envisioned a week-end soccer tournament that would bring together Ukrainian soccer players, as well as soccer enthusiasts. He was instrumental in organizing the First Annual Great Lakes Cup Ukrainian Men's Open Soccer Tournament, which was held on Memorial Day weekend, May 25-26, 1996 at the Dibrova Ukrainian Estate near Brighton, Michigan. The goal was that this tournament would be held annually on Memorial Day weekend and would be a rotating tournament among the Ukrainian sports clubs within the Great Lakes area - Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland, and Chicago, with Ukrainian sport clubs from U.S.A. and Canada participating. With much enthusiasm and success, the goal was achieved and went even further when the tournament expanded to encompass other sports, such as chess, golf, volleyball, and tennis. In its fifth year on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, 2000 it was again sponsored by USC Chernyk at the Dibrova Ukrainian Estate with some additional pomp and ceremony because USC Chernyk was celebrating its 50th anniversary that year.
Ties to Ukraine - Prior to Ukraine's proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union on August 24, 1991, a patriotic spirit was awakening in the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people. With this came the national awareness in sports and the need to compete under the Ukrainian banner. In Lviv, Ukraine, the Ukrainian Sport Association was formed and began to organize the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. In June 1990 the Ukrainian Sport Club "Karpaty" from Lviv began a mini-tournament, and USC Chernyk had the pleasure to meet with its countrymen and was privileged to host an international soccer match between the "Karpaty" team and the Canadian Windsor Wheels, which included guest players from Chernyk. The following year in 1991 Sport Club "Ukraina" from Lviv, in celebrating its 80th anniversary, extended an invitation to the Ukrainian Athletic Federation of United States and Canada to participate in its celebration and send an all-star team to Lviv for a five-city tour. Members from USC Chernyk again had the opportunity to meet with their countrymen and visit the country of their ancestors. The following soccer players represented USC Chernyk on the all-star team, from the First Division: Roman Kuropas, Dmytro Kulchycky, Andrew Macielinski, Etian Shalay, Andryj Wowk, and Taras Wowk; and from the Juniors: Borys Kohut and Gregory Sobol.
Chess has been an ongoing activity since the time USC Chernyk was organized. In the spring of 1950, the first in-house tournament was held with twenty participants. During the next decade, under the management of Dr. Omelan Lebedowych, the chess club numbered over forty members and belonged to the Metro Detroit Chess League, which held monthly tournaments. In 1962 Stefan Popel won the master championship in the Detroit Motor City Open Chess Tournament. In December 1962 under the management of Jaroslaw Zubal, the Chernyk Chess Club participated in the Ukrainian Athletic Federation of United States and Canada (UAFUSC) Regional Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. V. Ploshchansky became the chess club manager in 1965, and John Melnyk in 1970.
USC Chernyk members won first and third places in the UAFUSC Regional Chess Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio in 1972. Under the guidance of Dr. M. Lebedowych, Chernyk successfully hosted the UAFUSC Regional Chess Tournament in Detroit in 1974 with a large number of participants - 29. In the 1980s Zenobius Tomkiw became the manager of the chess club, which again hosted the UAFUSC Regional Chess Tournament in 1982. The 28th U.S. Motor City Open Chess Tournament in Detroit in 1986 was specifically designated to honor the Ukrainian chess players and their club. During the 1988 Sport Olympiad in Philadelphia, Dr. Bohdan Haidukewych won fourth place in chess. Bohdan Andrushkiw assumed the duties of manager in 1992, and under his management the chess club held local tournaments, including summer mini-tournaments at the Dibrova Ukrainian Estate. The Chernyk Chess Club again hosted the UAFUSC Regional Chess Tournament in Warren in 1996 and held a chess tournament during the 2000 Memorial Day weekend Great Lake Cup Tournament.
With ample room in the Chernyk clubhouse on Grayling Street, table tennis (ping-pong) became a popular activity. In 1950 L. Cionka formally organized the Table Tennis Club and regular mini-tournaments were held. In 1953 during a table tennis tournament with Ukrainian teams from Chicago and Cleveland, the USC "Chernyk" team placed first, with one of its own players, Jaroslaw Slywka, winning everyone of his matches. Interest in the club's table tennis was at its peak in the late 1950's; in the early 1960's it began declining. At that time, Teodor Pastuch stepped in as manager, and he was that needed spark to reactivate the table tennis club. A Juniors division was organized with Zenon Hotra as their trainer. In the Ukrainian American Sport Clubs Association (UASCA)Tournament in Cleveland in 1965, the Juniors did exceptionally well, winning first, second, and third place. In the 1967 UASCA Table Tennis Tournament, with four Ukrainian clubs participating, USC Chernyk men's teams won first place in individual games, and first and second in doubles. During the 1988 Sports Olympiad in Philadelphia J. Pashkewych won first place and a gold medal in the men's senior division, and together with T. Pastuch won third place and a bronze medal in men's table tennis doubles.
USC Chernyk's younger members, both men and women, were always eager participants in volleyball. The first men's and women's teams were organized in the early 1950s and have continued playing with greater or lesser success until the present time. Among the dedicated coaches and managers of the volleyball teams have been the following: Teodor Pastuch, Ihor Chypchar, Lubomyr Luczyn, Ostap Macielinski, Walter Czubatyj, Ihor Petraszczuk, and Ihor Lawrin. In 1963 the men's volleyball team placed second in the Ukrainian U.S. North Regional (UUSNR) Tournament held in Chicago, Illinois and qualified for the Ukrainian Athletic Federation of United States and Canada (UAFUSC) Tournament, where it also finished in second place. In 1966 the women's volleyball team won first place in the UUSNR Tournament and went on to the next level, UAFUSC Tournament, where they finished in third place. Again in 1968 the women's volleyball team advanced to the UAFUSC Tournament. In 1972 the women's team took part in the Wayne State Invitational Tournament and finished in second place. In 1980 the men's volleyball team won the Class-A Regional Championship and had the opportunity to play against the U.S. Women's Olympic Volleyball Team when they were touring the country during the United States boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow. In the 1988 Sport Olympiad in Philadelphia, the women's team, with Ihor Petraszczuk as manager, won second place and a silver medal.
USC Chernyk tennis team started its activities as early
as 1953-1954; however it did not officially organize
or participate in any tournaments until 1956, when Orest
Kawka represented the club in the Ukrainian Athletic
Federation of United States and Canada (UAFUSC) Tournament,
held on Labor Day weekend at the Soyuzivka Ukrainian
Estate in upper New York State. The following year in
1957 George Hodiw won the men's division championship
at the Soyuzivka Labor Day UAFUSC Tennis Tournament and
set off a trend where every year thereafter for eight
years consecutively, USC Chernyk players (men's and/or
juniors) won the championship (11 championships in eight
years). During those years the winning players in the
men's division were: George Hodiw, George Korol, and
Leo Wobobkewych; and in the junior division: Rostyslaw
Small, Bohdan Slywka, and O. Lebedowych. In the women's
division Phyllis Korol won first place in 1970. The most
successful year was 1968, when seven out of twelve championships
were won by the USC Chernyk tennis teams.
From 1991 through 1994 Matthew Wroblewski trained and managed the Juniors tennis club, which numbered close to 20 players. In 1993 the club participated in the Centerline Open - Juniors Division and Paul Tarnavsky won first place in the 16-18 age bracket and Mark Rostkowych was runner up in the 12 and under age bracket.
In 1956 Roman Kalytiak organized the USC Chernyk Ukrainian hockey team in Detroit, which was the first of its kind in North America. The junior hockey team, ages 16-17, was organized in 1958 and was managed and trained by Marion Zarewych until 1965. In playing for the Metro Park Recreation League in 1958-1960, the team was always referred to as the "Flying Ukes" because of the players' speed and abilities. The team had many outstanding players including Jaroslaw Serediuk, who played for the Detroit Junior Red Wings. In 1965 Michael Holowka assumed the duties of manager. In the late 1960s and early 1970s team playing declined. Subsequently, in 1971 Marion Zarewych proceeded to organize and train a junior hockey team club of about forty young hockey enthusiasts.
USC Chernyk members participated in the track and field events at the local meet organized by W. Dyhdalo in July and again in September 1962 at the Ukrainian Estate Dibrova near Brighton. In subsequent years, the club members participated sporadically in the Ukrainian Athletic Federation of United States and Canada Track and Field Annual Meets and at the local meets on Dibrova and Kyiv Estates. In 1970 Chernyk successfully hosted the 12th Annual UAFUSC Track and Field Meet at Dibrova.
In December of 1965 George Blichar was instrumental in organizing the USC Chernyk Ski Club, becoming its first president. The following year in 1966 the ski club coordinated the first ski outing to Boyne Highlands, with close to 50 participants. During the Annual Ukrainian Athletic Federation of United States and Canada Championship Meet on February 20, 1966, five club members competed, and Marianna Flys won first place in the women's division, while Roman Klymyshyn placed second in the men's division.
At least two ski trips were organized each year to many different ski locations, which included Nub's Knob, the Boyne area near Petoskey in northern Michigan, and Canada. Many of these ski trips were organized in cooperation with Ukrainian Ski Clubs from Toronto, Chicago, and Cleveland. Acquiring the skills of a good skier during the ski trips became very easy because USC Chernyk topnotch instructors, Bohdan Kaskiw and Roman Kaczmar, were always on hand. In 1969 Petro Kushnir became president of the club and membership in the club continued to grow. That year two chartered buses were needed to transport over 100 ski-trip participants to Nub's Knob in northern Michigan. In 1973 Jaroslaw Slywka assumed the duties of ski club president. The ski trips continued and membership in the club was still on the rise. The new president in 1977, Lesia Lawrin, with great organizational skills did an outstanding job in coordinating the ski trips, which were mainly to Boyne Highlands. The number of ski trip participants, which now included a large number of children, more than doubled. The February 2000 ski trip, which officially kicked off the club's 50th anniversary celebrations, numbered close to 300.
The USC Chernyk Bowling League was formed in 1962 with Leo Shashlo, president; Tanas Hayda, vice-president; Donna Hayda, secretary; and Michael Shumylo, treasurer. It was one of the first Ukrainian sport clubs in the U.S. to organize a bowling league. In the league's inception it numbered approximately 20 bowlers (four teams plus substitutes), and it bowled at the Paladium Lanes in Hamtramck, where pin boys racked up the pins manually. In the 1970s Chernyk bowlers participated in the Annual Ukrainian National Association Bowling Tournament, always with excellent results. In the year 2000, the "Chernyk" Bowling League remains very active, numbering well over 70 bowlers (14 teams plus substitutes).
Chernyk started its Men's Golf League in 1989, its Women's
League and its Youth League in 1997, all through the
initiative and efforts of the club's president, Christian
Shalay. The Men's League has held annual father-son/daughter
outings and annual team play-offs, and the golf teams
have participated in the Great Lakes Cup Golf Tournaments
during Memorial Day weekend.
During the 2000 season, the Men's League consisted of 24 two-man teams and a list of 20 substitutes. However, both the Women's and Youth Leagues have not had been as successful.
Among the other sport programs organized by USC Chernyk over the years were: billiards and tournaments were held; softball was played for many years; and racquetball attracted many club members.
USC "Chernyk," has always directed its efforts towards the promotion and development of sports in a social and Ukrainian environment, especially among the youth. The club can attribute its successes over the years to the untiring efforts of the many coaches, managers, club officers, and the leadership of the following presidents: Stanyslaw Krawchyshyn, Roman Kaczmar, Michael Tomyn, Jaroslaw Slywka, Ivan Lash, Ivan Lototochky, Ivan Szczupakivsky, V. Ploschansky, Mykola Kawka, Zenon Brezden, Wolodymyr Kizyma, George Lewak, Stephen Kohut, Leonid Shashlo, Petro Halnyj, Tanas Hayda, Wolodymyr Dyhdalo, Michael Bohdanowych, Bohdan Charchenko, Lubomyr Krupiak, Volodymyr Hnatiuk, and Christian Shalay. Throughout the club's 50-year history, there have been many dedicated men and women who contributed their time and effort for the benefit of the club, among them the parents and grandparents, who never refused their help when it was needed for the various sports programs or fundraising events. They deserve much praise and thanks, and they can look towards a bright and confident future with the Ukrainian Sport Club Chernyk because its past has been so successful.