Sarnia Sting’s dynamic Russian prospects turning heads in the OHL

  • Rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov are both adjusting well to theirfirst season in the Ontario League. But the route they took to get there wasvastly different.

    Last season, Galchenyuk and his family moved from Russia to Chicago, wherehe joined the Midwest Elite League’s Chicago Young Americans in order to beeligible for the OHL draft as a non-import player. He got his wish when hewas chosen first overall by the Sting in last summer’s draft.

    Yakupov plied his craft in Russia last season with his hometown ReaktorNizhnekamsk of the MHL, Russia’s major junior league, but felt making thejump to the OHL would bring him closer to his ultimate goal of playing inthe NHL. He got one step closer to that objective when he was taken secondoverall by Sarnia in the Canadian League import draft last summer.

    Despite their unique paths to Sarnia, both are excelling in the Stingjersey. Through their first half of the season, Yakupov has 21 goals and 46points in 31 games, while Galchenyuk has nine goals and 31 points in 32games. Not bad for two young men still learning the subtleties of the NorthAmerican game.

    THN’s Ryan Kennedy takes a closer look at Sarnia’s dynamic Russian duo.

    REPORTER: Ryan Kennedy | EDITOR: Mark Gougeon | PRODUCER: Ted Cooper

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