The Alpena Street Cats have picked up Vladislav Graevskiy, a Belorussian goaltender, who has played on the Belorussian National Under-18 team.
"I really want to be a big part of this team and communicate with my future American and Canadian teammates. I'm sure our preseason cycle of training will be very recognizable and close to my traditional and classical style of preseason training process under Coach Myaskovskiy's control," Graevskiy said,
Graevskiy split time between the U-18 team and a men's team in Belarus, where he took part in a preseason camp held by Montreal Canadiens' assistant coach Clement Jodoin. He played along side strong professional players such as Roman Grabarenko and Artem Demkov.
Graevskiy has never played in America.
"This is my first season in America and my language barrier will clear up faster with help of (Alpena) Coach Igor (Myaskovskiy) and my future Russian teammates," said Graevskiy.
Graevskiy was also impressed by the level of coaching he would receive on the Street Cats team.
"Another reason I decided to play for Alpena was our goalie coach, Lori Seguin. I heard that name even overseas and I heard outstanding references about Lori's coaching and credentials," he said.
Graevskiy first started skating when he was seven years old and experienced his first game with his father around the same time.
"At that moment, I decided for 100 percent that I would like to be goaltender. My first coach was one of the best coaches in the old Soviet Union, Alexandr Politcinskiy, and also my father, Vitaliy Graevskiy. They gave me a lot in skills, technique and ability to read the game," he said.
Graevskiy is excited to start playing for the Street Cats, as he feels that it will help promote his career beyond the junior level.
"I feel it's a good choice for me because on this team, I will have a Russian coach and it will help me a lot to adapt to American hockey," said Graevskiy. "I know it will be hard in my training process, but for this reason, I'm here with the Street Cats and I'm here for the Veteran's Memorial Cup. I want to achieve my goals and play for at least a good college or in the AHL. Of course, my goal is the NHL, but I know to reach this goal I have to not let in goals in my net."
Coach Igor Myaskovskiy has been throughly impressed by what he's seen of Graevskiy and feels that he will add a lot of depth to a team that already has a solid roster of players.
"I'm extremely happy to have a goalie the caliber of Vlad on our roster," added Myaskovskiy. "He is such a talented goalie and had many, many options for this season, but he chose to play here in the MWJHL. I feel he can move up one day to college hockey and then pro hockey. His work ethic is unbelievable and I am looking forward to having him in Alpena this season."