From the Monarchs website: Russian Rookie Turning Heads

Do you remember what you were doing on May 30, 1990?  While Madonna’s Vogue was topping the charts on the radio, the Springfield Indians were battling the Rochester Americans for the Calder Cup, and Edmonton was fighting to get past Boston to hoist the Stanley Cup, and Andrei Loktionov was born on that date in Voskresensk, Russia, a small town 88 kilometers South East of Moscow.

In 19 short years, he has won a silver medal with Team Russia in the 2008 Under-18 World Championships, been drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth-round (123rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, signed a three-year contract with the Kings and won the Memorial Cup with the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires.  He’s worked his whole life to play hockey at the highest level, and it’s not too far away.

He hasn’t won medals and championships simply because he’s been on the right team.  He’s been an integral part of these victories.  As a member of Team Russia at the 2008 Under-18 World Championships, he collected eight points (three goals and five assists) in six games which tied for second on the Russian squad and seventh out of all the skaters in the tournament.

In the Spitfires’ playoff run last season, Loktionov ranked second overall and led all OHL rookies with 33 points (11 goals and 22 assists).  His four game-winning goals led rookies and ranked fifth overall and his plus/minus rating of plus-18 led the entire OHL.  

While Loktionov was playing in Windsor, Ontario last season, he was not just learning a new style of hockey; he was also learning the English language.  

“I understand, but sometimes no,” explained Loktionov.  “My agent and my team help me when I don’t understand.  It’s not easy.  I learned some English when I lived in Canada a few years ago, when my (Russian) team played there.  I would like to take (an English) lesson, go to school here for one hour a day or three times a week to learn more.”

This is his second season of playing hockey on a different continent from home and he misses his family very much.

Loktionov explained, “[it's] very hard.  My parents are poor and can’t come to watch me play.  The plane ride is too long for them.  Some day I hope to help them, buy them a new home.  Why not [laughing]?”

Loktionov made a professional debut that any parent would be proud of when he scored three goals and added an assist in the Monarchs season opener, a 6-3 victory against the Albany River Rats on October 3.

“I enjoy playing with my new teammates and they deserve all the credit,” Loktionov said modestly about his stellar American Hockey League debut.  “They gave me some nice passes and I was able to score.”

With this impressive success in his debut, Loktionov became the first Monarchs player to be named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week after the first week of the season.  He also became the 18th player in Monarchs history to score a hat trick and the first to score the triple tallies in his professional debut with the team.  In addition, the rookie center became the 25th player in team history to tally four points in one game.

“He’s a special player and we’re going to enjoy him while we’ve got him,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris on Loktionov.  “He makes those around him better.  He’s got the ability to be a big time player with his passing, skating and shooting.”

Following his first seven games with the Monarchs, Loktionov is ranked second on the team with eight points (4-4=8) and is tied for Manchester’s lead with a plus/minus ranking of plus-8.  It’s probably too early to say when he’ll be called up to Los Angeles but the possibility is not unlikely.

“I don’t know, that’s a good question, but one for Los Angeles (to answer),” said Loktionov when asked about when he may join the Kings.  “All I can do is work hard, but yes, I think of playing (with the Kings).”

via Monarchs site.

 
  • Mark

    I’m surprised that the Kings aren’t providing him with an English tutor. I wonder if that’s standard procedure for teams? I realize that he hasn’t made the team yet, but it seems like it would be a very small monetary investment that would pay big dividends in helping him get acclimatized here in North America not to mention enhancing his communication with coaches/teammates.