North American Legionnaires willingly come to play and earn money in the KHL and are no less fond of telling stories about their life in Russia. New bikes are coming out almost every week and below are just a few of them.
Ryan Whitney played for HC Sochi in the 2014/15 season.
“The weather was nice in Russia. I played in Sochi, which is called Russian San Diego, which always amuses me. There is almost no snow, and in 2014 the Olympic Games were held there. I settled on the Olympics.” It used to be the village where the athletes lived, and this was a city of ghosts. When the athletes left, there was no one there. After the season started, I flew to Russia and I remember how they met me. It’s impossible. Legionnaires have a driver so that foreigners can drive by themselves on Russian roads, so on my second day, I was being taken somewhere and suddenly the police stopped us. A policeman comes to the side of the car, our driver lowers the window, takes a small pile of rubles from his pocket and gives it to him. After that, everyone dispersed.
And the funny thing is, Evgeni Malkin acted the same way when he started playing for Pittsburgh. She was driving an unlicensed Porsche on American roads once. When his car stopped, Malkin lowered the window and wanted to give the police some money. She looked at him with wild eyes: “This isn’t Russia, what are you doing?” Sergei Gonchar, with whom Malkin lived with at the time, had to call the Pittsburgh police and fix the problem.
I remember Mikhail Anisin. He once brought a friend to the locker room and held a gun in his hand and waved it in different directions. “Look, it’s brand new! Brand new!” Moreover, things were even crazier in the Super League, where there were no rules. My goalkeeper friend told me that he had received $400,000 in cash from the club and that he ripped off the pads of the goalkeeper and put $200,000 each in order to transport them to the USA. He was worried about what would happen to the money when he flew home, but everything went well. The bills have arrived.”
Josh Gratton, Vityaz and Barys (2010-2014)
“The owner of Vityaz was an interesting person. After the matches he invited us to his house, a huge palace with guns on the walls and horses in the garden. And we were not allowed to go all weekend, and all this time he woke up, drank, went to bed and then drank again. But completely we left when we fainted but this party lasted for a few days.It was an incredible experience.
This is what happened before the famous war with the “vanguard”. The owner of the club called us and said he had friends at the party and wanted to have fun. So let the players fight as soon as the match starts. Nazarov came to the locker room and said, “If you don’t fight, you won’t get your money and you will be kicked out.” Of course it was unpleasant to fight, but I wanted to get my money. The Mafiosi suddenly got bored and used their toys that were us.”
Tim Stapleton, Ak Bars, Neftekhimik, Spartak, Metallurg (2013-2017)
And once Keenan attacked a Russian player. He stood next to him and shouted all kinds of bad words: “You are such and such.” When Keenan left the locker room, the player turned to me and said, “Tim, what was Mike talking about?” she asked. I told him: “He praised you. He said you played well.”
Paul Bissonnette, former NHL player
“One of my friends who played in Nizhnekamsk said that every time he came home from away games, the furniture in the apartment looked like it had been moved, as if ghosts were doing it. The apartment and the man’s family. rented him an apartment. Whenever the team played away, they lived there and it was just luck. learned the work.
There have been cases where the club opened an account for the players and transferred money to it, and then the bank stopped working and the hockey players lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
John Mirasti, Vityaz and Barys (2011-2013)
The police came, we got scared and ran away. Jeremy and Panarin managed to escape, but I hesitated and decided I’d better give up. It was good of Panarin to come and talk to the police. At that time I did not know Russian, Panarin did not know English, but he came to me and said “Mani-mani”. I pulled out a wallet with $500 in it, handed it to the police, and wished me luck. If it weren’t for Panarin, I would definitely end up in a prison in the Russian countryside.
But in Russia they paid a lot of money. Somehow I had to fly home to my wife who had just given birth. A week later, Vityaz played a game with Barys that was crucial for the club’s management. Josh Gratton was playing in Astana at the time and it was important for Vityaz’s owner that one of our fighters was ready to fight him. They let me go because Jeremy Jablonsky and Kip Brennan were still on the team. I flew home, took a nap, and suddenly I see on the news that the KHL has disqualified Jablonsky and Brennan for a fight. Skype call at 3am. “John, Sasha (our owner’s son) is looking for you,” says Jablonsky. 10 minutes later Sasha calls herself. I found out that I had to be in Moscow the next day, as there was no one else to fight for Vityaz.
First shift, they let me go against Gratton. He sees that I’m not okay and says, “Are you sure we’re going to fight?” he asks. Pff, still. I flew so much, in vain? I think I beat him pretty well. I served for five minutes, returned to the bench and said to Nazarov: “Let me fight again, or I won’t be able to sit down.” This time I destroyed Gratton and was kicked out for the rest of the match. It turned out that I had two fights in 10 minutes, and for this I flew all over the world. After the game I walked with the owner of the club for two days and then he arranged a plane for me to New York and let me go for a week and he also gave me $25,000.
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