Saturday, September 02, 2006

Peter Ihnacak's Journey

Today's National Post has a great story on former Leaf Peter Ihnacak's escape from the Czechloslovakia to play in the NHL.

Ignore the header and the paper's efforts to position this story vis-a-vis Malkin. This story is all about Ihnacak and it's a great reminder of the cloak and dagger days that preceeded transfer agreeements and the full-on internationalization of the NHL.

The dead-tree version of the Post includes a great info-graphic timeline that traces the in-flux of Eastern block skaters into the NHL, including the surprising (to me) news that Viktor Khatulev was the first eastern block player drafted by an NHL club. The team? Philadelphia in 1975. (I'm guessing he appealed to the Flyers as he'd been suspended from the Russian hockey league for five years for fighting. Another bit of shocking news - Khatulev didn't find out he was drafted until 1978...)

It's a real shame the Post's web-site is so clumsy and so much of it is firewalled for subscribers. At the moment their sports section might just be the best one in Toronto, if not Canada.


  1. Best in Canada? hmmm I don't read the Post because of it's website.

    CNN/SI's John Rolfe actually wrote a similar piece when the Malkin affair first broke although it was not as in-depth on the Leafs.

  2. Anonymous9:26 pm

    I believe Flyers coach Fred Shero had journeyed to Russia during that time and may have gotten info/seen him at that time.