You can see their smiling faces and read all about them in the sports section on DiscoverMooseJaw.com today. They are the Moose Jaw Warriors' new import players for the upcoming hockey season, Danill Stepanov and Yegor Buyalsky. They're from Belarus.
Our Marc Smith was able to conduct a proper interview with Stepanov. You see, the 17 year old knew he'd be taking his hockey hopes to North America long ago. He taught himself English.
Thinking back to my days covering our Warriors, the language barrier was a major factor for some of our European imports. The kids who picked up English quickly found more succes, as I recall.
I think of Pavel Kubina. He made the most of his one season in Moose Jaw after arriving from the Czech Republic. He'd go on to a fine career in the NHL.
And, I think of Roman Vopat- another success story. I remember Milt Mastad taking Roman under his wing and helping him learn quickly.
I clearly remember one morning when we were on the road about halfway through Roman's rookie season. He was next to me at the breakfast buffet. I was skipping the breakfast meats and going for the bran flakes. Roman looked at me. He was puzzled. And, he said, "Carns. Bacon. Go for it!"