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Players with interesting "origin" stories

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Old
03-01-2013, 06:39 PM
  #1
eli J
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Players with interesting "origin" stories

There's lots of players in the NHL who grew up in Markham, Ontario, with white middle class Canadian parents who drove them to hockey practice every morning.

Maybe not those EXACT same details, but generally speaking, this seems like a common way that people come up through the junior leagues and make the NHL.

On the flipside, what players have somewhat "unique" stories about how they came to Canada or America, or came to play hockey at all?

I bring this up after googling Akim Aliu, who I've only known by name through seeing him on various rosters or free agent pools in NHL video games.

Here's his story, which is sort of neat:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Aliu was born in Okene, Nigeria, but grew up in Kiev, Ukraine. His father, Tai, a Nigerian attended university in Kiev on a track and field scholarship where he met and married Aliu's mother, Larissa, a Ukrainian. He has a brother, Edward. Aliu considers himself Ukrainian Canadian and attests that he and his family live according to Ukrainian culture; and that he would have played for the Ukrainian national hockey team, if asked. Uncomfortable with the political climate following the demise of the Soviet Union, Aliu's parents moved the family to Canada when he was 7 and settled in the Toronto area. The family initially struggled while Tai studied to become a computer programmer.
Arriving in Canada, Aliu spoke fluent Russian but no English and had never played hockey. His first pair of skates were purchased at a garage sale and he began playing in a house league in the Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale. He had a natural talent for the game and within a few years was drafted into the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in the first round by the Windsor Spitfires.
I'm sure there's some other decent ones out there.. anyone care to share?

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03-01-2013, 06:47 PM
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Not in the NHL yet, but Dallas first rounder Radek Faksa moved away from home at 16 IIRC which isn't odd in its self, but Faksa lived on his own at 16 chasing his hockey dream.

Someone who's more familiar with the story can give more specifics I'm sure. Always found it interesting though

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Old
03-01-2013, 06:48 PM
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I read somewhere that Radek Faksa was poor growing up, and was offered two meals a day and a small home if he moved away from his family to play hockey because he was outstanding.

Not sure if that was the exact story, as it was nearly 1 year ago I read that.

EDIT: Oh look, the guy above beat me.

Patrick O'Sullivan was constantly abused by father growing up, and Steve Downie was in the car when his father was killed driving him to hockey practice at 9 years old.

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03-01-2013, 07:01 PM
  #4
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Vancouver canuck Alex Edler has a pretty interesting story,

http://www.canada.com/story_print.ht...8-0b5113a2ca86

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03-01-2013, 07:04 PM
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Early on his career Pavel Datsyuk got some fan mail from a 10 year old boy in Russia claiming he loved hockey, but coming from a poor family couldn't continue to play because his family couldn't afford equipment. Being reminded of his humble upbringings, Datsyuk sent the 10 year old boy some gear and sponsored the costs of his next several seasons and lessons.

That 10 year old boy later turned out to be Alexander Burmistrov.

The two remain in contact to this day.


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Old
03-01-2013, 07:07 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZBAKE View Post
Early on his career Pavel Datsyuk got some fan mail from a boy in Russia claiming he loved hockey, but coming from a poor family couldnt play because his family couldn't afford equipment. Being reminded of his humble upbringings Datsyuk sent the 10 year old boy some gear and sponsored the costs of his first several seasons and lessons.

That 10 year old boy later turned out to be Alexander Burmistrov
Is this for real? that's freaking awesome.

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Old
03-01-2013, 07:08 PM
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Gene Parmesan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZBAKE View Post
Early on his career Pavel Datsyuk got some fan mail from a boy in Russia claiming he loved hockey, but coming from a poor family couldnt play because his family couldn't afford equipment. Being reminded of his humble upbringings Datsyuk sent the 10 year old boy some gear and sponsored the costs of his first several seasons and lessons.

That 10 year old boy later turned out to be Alexander Burmistrov
Thats a cool story. Douglas Murray has an interesting back story as well.

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Old
03-01-2013, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eli J View Post
Is this for real? that's freaking awesome.
Yep its a legit story. Really cool stuff.

Quote:
About 10 years or so ago there was a young boy who lived in the Russian city of Kazan. His name was Alexander. Even though he was about eight at the time, he excelled in hockey. Unfortunately, there were problems with hockey equipment, or lack thereof. So some friends asked Pavel Datsyuk to help. And he did, sending some professional hockey sticks and skates to the boy Datsyuk had never even met.

Right now that boy, who also happens to be a former first round draft pick, is a star forward for the Winnipeg Jets. His name is Alexander Burmistrov.
http://dchesnokov.tumblr.com/post/30...315/good-deeds

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Old
03-01-2013, 07:10 PM
  #9
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Leo Komarov. He was born in Estonia, then moved to a town in Finland that speaks Swedish. And his parents are Russian.

Quote:
Komarov was born to Russian parents.[2] At the age of five, the Komarov family moved to the Swedish-speaking town of Nykarleby, Finland when his father Alexander Komarov accepted a contract to play ice hockey there.[3][4] Because his father was an ethnic Karelian, the family was able to permanently reside there.[5] Leo Komarov also holds dual Russian-Finnish citizenship.[6]

Komarov is multi-lingual and can speak four languages: Swedish, Finnish, Russian, and English.[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Komarov

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Old
03-01-2013, 07:11 PM
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Bobby Ryan's story is probably worth mentioning in a thread like this:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201...yer_bobby.html

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03-01-2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZBAKE View Post
Early on his career Pavel Datsyuk got some fan mail from a 10 year od boy in Russia claiming he loved hockey, but coming from a poor family couldnt continue to play because his family couldn't afford equipment. Being reminded of his humble upbringings, Datsyuk sent the 10 year old boy some gear and sponsored the costs of his next several seasons and lessons.

That 10 year old boy later turned out to be Alexander Burmistrov who remains in contact with Datsyuk to this day.
I take back everything negative I have ever said about Pavel Datsyuk. For real.

I never knew this. What a terrific story.

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03-01-2013, 07:14 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topliner967 View Post
Bobby Ryan's story is probably worth mentioning in a thread like this:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201...yer_bobby.html
This AINEC.

tl;dr, when bobby was 10 his dad, a boxer, came home drunk and nearly killed his mom. He was charged with attempted murder. He fled to Canada with bobby and then his mom later joined them. Changed their identities, and moved around a lot for Bobbys hockey.

His actual name is Bobby Stevenson.

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03-01-2013, 07:14 PM
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These are all really cool, thanks guy

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03-01-2013, 07:14 PM
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Bobby Ryan is the first one that comes to mind.

A lot of Russians seem to have interesting stories too.

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03-01-2013, 07:27 PM
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Bobby Stevenson has a pretty wild story.

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03-01-2013, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topliner967 View Post
Bobby Ryan's story is probably worth mentioning in a thread like this:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201...yer_bobby.html
Came in here to post this.

He's a great guy to talk to in person. Really polite with his fans...a bit rude to his haters. But in interviews he always makes sure to say my pleasure at the end. Good attitude.

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Old
03-01-2013, 08:59 PM
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It seems to be forgotten but the way Malkin escaped the KHL to come to North America is pretty interesting.He literally escaped in the middle of the night from Finland? and took a flight to the USA.

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03-01-2013, 10:14 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZBAKE View Post
Early on his career Pavel Datsyuk got some fan mail from a 10 year od boy in Russia claiming he loved hockey, but coming from a poor family couldnt continue to play because his family couldn't afford equipment. Being reminded of his humble upbringings, Datsyuk sent the 10 year old boy some gear and sponsored the costs of his next several seasons and lessons.

That 10 year old boy later turned out to be Alexander Burmistrov who remains in contact with Datsyuk to this day.
This is fascinating.

Good for Datsyuk to do that.

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Old
03-01-2013, 10:21 PM
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Patrick O'Sullivan's story is pretty wild. As I remember it, his father was an over-the-top hockey dad who pushed his kid way too hard, and would often physically abuse him.

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Old
03-01-2013, 10:23 PM
  #20
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as other people have mentioned, this thread belongs to Bobby Ryan.

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Old
03-01-2013, 10:30 PM
  #21
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Just an interesting tidbit, not really the same.

Cody Hodgson told his grade 1 teachers he had to miss school because he had a hockey tournament and also said he want to grow up to be a hockey player. No one believed in him, his teachers told him he shouldn't expect to be an NHL'er, except one teacher. One teacher always encouraged him, supported him and told him to go, but with one promise. When Coho makes the show, buy her tickets to Cody's game. When Cody Hodgson played in Toronto for the first time last season for the Canucks, he lived up to the promise he made in grade 1 to his teacher. He bought his grade 1 teacher who believed in him tickets to the Canucks Leafs game.

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Old
03-01-2013, 10:34 PM
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Roberto Luongo grew up just four blocks away from where Martin Brodeur grew up, in St-Leonard, Montreal. They are seven years apart. Today, they each have an arena named after them. Also, both goalies made their NHL debuts against the Boston Bruins.


Last edited by SB164: 03-01-2013 at 10:42 PM.
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Old
03-01-2013, 11:43 PM
  #23
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Aliu is an interesting story...i cant imagine the hardships endures by him and his mother. Russians/ukrainians dont tend to be too welcome or tolerant towards black folks...im not sure if mixed race marriage is even allowed there

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Old
03-01-2013, 11:48 PM
  #24
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I like Chris McAllisters' story. Always brings things back down to earth...

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php?pid=19351

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Old
03-02-2013, 12:27 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bennett View Post
I like Chris McAllisters' story. Always brings things back down to earth...

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p....php?pid=19351
... You got me.

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