Traveling the World to Play, and Not Play, Hockey
While the bulk of the players for the Steele County Blades junior hockey team hail from Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, you need a globe to keep track of where some of the others are from or where they have traveled. Five countries are represented on the Blades roster and that doesn't count one trip abroad taken by a player to a country where hockey does not exist.
Seva Bannikov comes from Minsk, Belarus where he started playing hockey as a young child. In recent times he played in Canada before landing a spot on the Steele County Blades roster. He is one of the leading scorers on the team. In our interview he remembers fondly his first-ever goal as a ten-year-old. [Click on his name below for an interview.] The weekend games being discussed occurred in mid-October.
Connor Lee grew up playing hockey in Sydney, Australia where rinks are few and far between. He played alongside former Blades goalie Nick Mizen (Newcastle, Australia) for a little while, although he is a few years younger. One advantage to living on the other side of the world is it's hockey season there when he finishes the junior hockey season in Minnesota and returns home. Lee played with the Iowa Wild, which had an affiliation with the Blades. [Click on his name below for an interview.]
Will Christensen from Sandy, UT has a slightly different story to tell as he went on an extended mission trip to Africa where hockey is a pretty much non-existent. He discusses getting back into the flow of the game after being off of skates for so long. [Click on his name below for an interview.]
The Steele County Blades return to action at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna on November 8-9 when they host the Dells Ducks. On Sunday, November 10 they play the Rochester Vipers at Graham Arena in Rochester. See the Blades full schedule here.