Ukrainians in the NHL: Alexei Ponikarovsky

this is something I thought of recently as a possible ongoing series*, but looking through the Wikipedia list of Ukrainian hockey players the only other current NHL player born in Ukraine I could find is the Penguins' Ruslan Fedotenko.

I thought I'd take a brief break from my Blackhawks @ Penguins stuff (uh, that no Hawks or Pens bloggers are noticing anyway) for a word about the Maple Leafs, who had a 5-2 win in Toronto over the Atlanta Thrashers last night. it was 5-0 for most of the game; I considered popping in on a Leafs fan game thread and joking about how 5-0 is "the most dangerous lead in hockey" (a joke Blackhawks fans will make all year after the 10/12/09 win vs. the Flames) but if the Leafs had blown it I would have felt bad. anyway, Alexei Ponikarovsky, left wing for the Leafs, scored two goals last night, 28 seconds apart! not sure when this photo is from:

my knowledge of the Leafs is still somewhat spotty despite trying to follow them this season, but I'm thinking this delightful "Leafs in Suits" feature Archimedies posted last night will help me keep the names straight. Ponikarovsky (Poni!) was born April 9, 1980 in Kiev (and became a Canadian citizen June 7th, 2007); he's spent his entire NHL  career with the Maple Leafs, after playing for Dynamo Moscow.  more about Ponikarovsky is here at LeafsNews.

I would have thought there'd be more than two Ukrainian players in the NHL (but some listed as Russian may actually be Ukrainian); I guess Ukraine is better-known for figure skaters. Pittsburgh and Toronto both have significant Ukrainian communities; there's the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, "North America's Largest Ukrainian Street Festival."

hmm.  I thought I'd been to Toronto as a kid and seen Ukrainian stuff, but I guess I've only been to Windsor, Ontario. anyway, if the few Ukrainian hockey players end up in areas with Ukrainian communities, by this logic, Chicago's team should be next...or Minnesota or New York (or maybe Buffalo?).

*why am I doing this? because Ukrainian is the main ethnic group I identify with (despite my family background being a few different ethnicities). I lived in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago for five years...as an annoying art-student quasi-hipster gentrifier, perhaps, but one who's part Ukrainian!

5 comments:

Archimedies said...

A couple other Poni notes...

Do yourself a favour and type "Ponikarovsky and Antropov" into a youtube search. Maybe the best piece of sports journalism ever.

I have another absolutely excellent suit shot of Poni kicking around, but I can't paste things in this comment box, apparently.

k of c said...

Hey, thanks, that was fast. Is it a Blogger feature that you can't post images in comments, or do I have this set some way I'm not aware of? I know you're also on Blogger...

Archimedies said...

I'm not really sure. Oh look, it's working now!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_-r2ufVKPDeA/SvDSMWdI2RI/AAAAAAAAAzg/DgJb8JMjirM/s400/Poni.JPG

tah-dah

k of c said...

very nice! I had trouble with putting links in my piece, maybe Blogger was just screwy yesterday.

Aubrey said...

I am enjoying your posts from your trip. Sadly I'm reading on the run this week (Forty Italians invade my house this Sunday, preparations must be made. Isn't family Christmas dinner the fifth circle of Hell?) and hadn't got a chance to comment yet :(

Hey, what ever happened to Ponikarovsky's website? "Poni in your windows", the hand sculpture... That thing was so entertaining!