Celebrating your first goal
by Martin Merk|04 NOV 2020
The goal celebration of 18-year-old Hungarian defenceman Marko Csollak went viral when the plexiglass broke.
photo: Attila Szucs / TSH Photo
Imagine you’re an 18-year-old junior defenceman on a pro team and score your first goal in your first season. That’s what happened to Marko Csollak, and he wanted to do it Ovechkin style, jumping into the plexiglass and bounce back to celebrate with his teammates.

However, the glass wasn’t strong enough for the 190-cm tall Budapest native, who literally jumped through the glass and hit the ground on the other side. That’s where photographer Attila Szucs stood in the right place at the right time to catch this photo of the year candidate during a yet young hockey season.
“I could barely comprehend what was going on,” Csollak told NBC Sports. “I scored a nice goal at the end of a well-built attack [and] I wanted to celebrate a bit. I was expecting to bounce back from the plexiglass, high-five my teammates, but that’s not what happened.”

Csollak came out from a strong 2019/2020 junior season. Before the pandemic he helped Hungary win the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group B and his club MAC from Budapest win the Austria-based cross-border junior league EBJL.

This season he made the MAC Ujbuda team that plays in Erste Liga, the top-level senior competition of Hungary and Romania. Like other leagues in Europe it suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions but the Hungarian teams are still allowed to play with spectator restrictions and 335 fans witnessed MAC’s game against Titanok from Szekesfehervar.
After 12 minutes at the Tuskecsarnok rink in Budapest Csollak opened the scoring on a breakaway when he became instantly famous, more so for the celebration than for his first goal itself.

“I’ve seen the video on a lot of websites, some has hundreds of thousands of views, which surprised me,” Csollak said. “It was an unfortunate coincidence, however. I would like to draw attention to myself only with the way I play.”

It looked like a painful moment for Csollak, but luckily he wasn’t hurt and stood up quickly to join his teammates with a smile. But he didn’t hide that he was scared.

“I think you can see it in my face, one of the photos is very fitting. When I felt I wasn’t bouncing back from the plexiglass to the ice, it ran through my brain how I was going to get back on the ice. Anyway, I was still happy with my goal,” he said the day after on his club’s website.

After repairing the glass the game continued. MAC blew a two-goal lead and Titanok scored three goals within a span of 103 seconds in the middle frame for a 3-2 lead that stayed for most of the game. But Csollak’s story got its happy end when his linemates on the first line found the net late. National team star Istvan Sofron tied the game with 25 seconds left in regulation time and Balint Molnar scored the OT winner.

MAC continues to lead the league before city rival Ferencvarosi Torna Club. And Csollak promised to celebrate his next goal in a more modest way.