Plays For Soviet Army Team
Sergei Fedorov was born on December 13, 1969, in the city of Pskov in the western Soviet Union near the border with Estonia, which was under Soviet occupation at that time. His father, Viktor Alexandrovich Fedorov, worked as a hockey and soccer coach and moved the family to Apatity, a city in the extreme northwest of the Soviet Union near the border with Finland, when his son was nine years old. In the near-Arctic climate, Fedorov could practice his hockey skills under his father's guidance for most of the year. The youngster became an excellent skater with speed and agility and also learned how to handle the puck well. By the time he reached his teens, Fedorov was asked to join the elite squad of the Central Red Army hockey team.
Joining the team meant that Fedorov had to move to Moscow, but his love of hockey outweighed any hesitation to leave home. A standout player from the start, Fedorov helped the Soviet national team win the Silver Medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 1988 and take the Gold Medal at the senior-level World Hockey Championships the following year. In 1989 and 1990 the Soviet Red Army team played a series of exhibition games in North America coordinated by the NHL. The series brought Federov to the attention of many NHL scouts and players and the Detroit Red Wings selected the young Soviet player in the fourth round of the 1989 draft. Unfortunately, Soviet officials refused to allow Fedorov or any other player to leave the country freely. At that time NHL players were ineligible to play on Olympic teams; thus, if top-level players left the Soviet Union to play in the NHL, the country's future medal-winning chances would be dimmed.