Vladimir Tarasenko is already everyones favorite hockey player, in St. Louis. Now he might also be your new favorite writer.
He wrote a story on The Players’ Tribune, a website created by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The site allows players to control the stories that are published, and usually contain personal, heartfelt stories about their lives.
Tarasenko wrote about, basically, his entire hockey life:
Starting with his first hockey game in Russia, as a 7-year-old.
“…not good. We score two goals. The other team has 34. It’s bad. The second game is one day later. Now we score no goals. The other team … 19 goals. O.K., defense a little better. Must work on our shooting.”
He really looked up to his father, who was often away from home, in the middle of his professional hockey career.
“I didn’t see him much at this time. On TV, a little, and in person, sometimes. But then, when I get highlights of his games, I watch close. My first memory of this is from Olympic Games in 1994. He comes home, from Lillehammer, after the tournament, with a video. This tape has all of my dad’s games from the two weeks, plus the full closing ceremony. So, you know, I watch this. Rewind. Watch again. Rewind. Watch again.”
Vlady is hilarious, and can be funny at his own expense.
“So I go out with my grandpa a few weeks later. Pass, bang, on tape. Every time.
No, I’m just kidding. Only sometime.
O.K., we work on this.”
Tarasenko explains one of the toughest times of his career was when he was recovering from his first concussion, in his rookie season. But his teammate, Barret Jackman, helped him with so much, including learning English.
“Every day when I am trying to get back in the lineup, stopping by, talking with me, letting me work on English, letting me know that, even with injury, I am still part of this. I will never meet anyone who says a bad word about Barret. He loves hockey, and is such a warrior.”
We already knew his devotion to the St. Louis community, but he has done so much more for Arianna that we didn’t know.
There is a prize at auction, it’s “Travel With the Blues.” You win this prize, you go with Blues for road trip — travel with team for some games, spend time with team between games, basically you are one of us, part of team. So we have this great idea. Outbid everyone at auction (sorry, guys). And then we give prize to Arianna, for her 11th birthday.
And he wraps it up by talking about his dedication to win a Stanley Cup in St. Louis
After Game 6, in the locker room … it’s sad. I sit with my head down. I don’t want to stop playing. Nobody on this team is ready for the Blues’ season to be over. But also I look around at our group, and it’s like … Man, we are hungry to win. That’s a good thing.