1 minute read

Sergei Fedorov

Intriguing Start To Nhl Career

The Soviet national team repeated as world champions in 1990 and traveled to Portland, Oregon for the international Goodwill Games in July of that year. Just before a team dinner on July 22, 1990, Fedorov slipped away from the hotel where the Soviets were staying and jumped on an airplane headed to Detroit. The Red Wings immediately announced on his behalf that Fedorov had defected; the event touched off a storm of protests by Soviet officials, who threatened to boycott an upcoming series of exhibition games unless a large payment were delivered to them by the Red Wings. The team complied and Fedorov was free to begin his NHL career.

Only a handful of European players had made a significant impact on the NHL's ranks, in part because of the more physical style of play practiced on the smaller ice rinks of North America. Fedorov adapted immediately to the new style and he worked to overcome language and cultural barriers by taking intensive English lessons. At the end of the 1990-91 season Fedorov had the most points of any rookie player with thirty-one goals and forty-eight assists. He narrowly missed being named NHL Rookie of the Year, an honor that went to goaltender Ed Belfour.

Fedorov slowly improved on his numbers the following two seasons; the 1993-94 season, in contrast, represented a major step forward for the six-foot, one-inch, two-hundred-pound center. Finishing the season with fifty-six goals and sixty-four assists, Fedorov won the Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as Best Defensive Forward. He also received the Lester B. Pearson Award as Player of the Year from the NHL Players Association.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockeySergei Fedorov Biography - Plays For Soviet Army Team, Intriguing Start To Nhl Career, Renews Contract With Red Wings In 1998