Denis Brel in St. Petersburg has written a fine piece about what Alexander Semin is up to in Russia. So I’m just going to put my feet up and let my terrific stepson take it away. Many thanks to Denis in “The City that Peter Built.”
By Denis Brel –
Alexander Semin signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, but of course has yet to skate with them. So he went overseas like others are doing.
Almost every day we hear in the news, and I heard again today, that another NHL star has signed a temporary contract with a KHL team. I think the main thing for most players is to maintain their form, although it’s also good money in the KHL, and many players have decided to return to the club where they played before because it’s a comfortable situation for them: Ovechkin is playing for his native “Dynamo” Moscow, and Evgeni Malkin of Magnitogorsk “Metallurg, for example.
But with Alexander Semin, things are slightly different.
The fact that he has decided to play for the second-division team in Krasnoyarsk, which was his first step in professional sports, for a team called Sokol in the VHL (Major Hockey League), a long way down from the KHL.
Semin also wanted to play for free, but he was told that he must be paid at least something, as it’s in league rules. Therefore, Sasha signed for the lowest possible wage in the VHL (50,000 rubles), which comes to about $ 1,450 per month after taxes. And Semin has decided that all of his money will go to a children’s hockey school, personally buying sports equipment for kids just starting out.
Why did Semin decide to play for free in his hometown when he could make much more?
His response is found in Sport-Express:
“I wanted to be close to my family, to play on a team where I started. To be honest, this has been my dream from the time I left Krasnoyarsk. Alex Ovechkin completely supports me, and he sent a text saying”Well done!” It will be great to play in front of family, friends and fans. This is a chance to give back to my hometown and the sports school, where I was taught to play hockey. Yes, there is a lockout, but these difficult circumstances should be used for something good.
Different clubs approached me to play, but I decided to play at home. I’m familiar with hockey people in Krasnoyarsk. I was here after the World Championship and preparing for the NHL season in the local arena. I thought just jokingly about what it would be like to stay if a lockout happened, and then I thought, why not?
I’ve haven’t been home much in a long time, and family and friends are delighted. And my grandmother hasn’t seen me play in years. It’ll be a great present for her, she just turned 90 years old. She is, incidentally, in good health, and she’s still a big cheerleader (laughs).
All of us NHLers are communicating over here, and maybe for some it’s a weird thing I’m doing. But I’ve explained everything. I just want to be at home.