SPRINGHILL – Russian hockey player Dmitrii Anikin isn’t sure if he’ll be back with the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey Leagues Cumberland County Blues next year.
“I can’t guarantee anything but I hope to be back. If I’m not back, for whatever reason, I’m thankful that I was able to play with the Blues,” said Anikin. “I’ve enjoyed every practice, every game, and every road trip. Everyone’s been great. I can’t say enough about the staff.”
Anikin attends Mount Allison University where he studies commerce. Classes at Mount A resumed on Monday after faculty were on strike for three weeks.
Anikin decided to attend Mount Allison after he did research and learned it was one of the best undergraduate universities in the world.
“The strike was frustrating. I like playing hockey here but I came to Canada to go to Mount Allison,” said Anikin. “After a strike at UNB (The University of New Brunswick) for three to four weeks, and then Mount Allison following in their footsteps, the situation should have been fixed before it got to that point.”
Anikin studied during the strike.
“Our professors advised us to keep up on our readings, so I put myself in a position to catch up on lost time.”
Anikin has been watching the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia with much interest.
“It’s always an honour to have the Olympics in your own country. Everything is going good so far, so I’m pleased with that,” he said. “There’s an urge inside me to be there but, oh well, I’m in university now.”
He says he liked the opening ceremonies, but added that it might have confused people who aren’t Russian.
“The opening ceremonies had a lot of Russian-based history, and there were a lot of things people outside of Russia might not have been able to relate to.
“One part was about Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace and another part was about the creation of Russia,” he added. “And there was also a part representing a painting that sold for $60 million, so I’m sure a lot of people were confused.”
He says he hasn’t been glued to his TV watching the Olympics but pays close attention to hockey.
“I hope it’s a Russia/Canada final,” he says.
He also hopes Alexander Ovechkin has a good Olympics.
“I think this is his Olympics to shine,” said Anikin. “Team Russia will be dependent on him. If he does well, Team Russia will do well.”
After Friday’s Blues game in Springhill, Anikin was happy that Jesse Colborne scored all five goals for the Blues in their 5-3 win over the Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates.
“Team Colborne looked really good out there. What a way to go out,” he said with a laugh. “Jesse is a great guy and if anyone deserves to play such a good game it is him. It’s not easy to score five goals in one game. One, you have to be really good and, two, you have to have a bit of luck on your side.”
Anikin played 17 regular season games this season with the Blues and had nine goals and nine assists.
If Anikin is coming back to the team, Blues coach Grove Sutton says he'd like to know very soon.
“If he is coming back we have to start the process of getting him cleared to play,” said Sutton. “We want to get the process going right away so that when training camp rolls around he’ll be ready to go.”
If Anikin does return, Sutton expects he’ll do even better than he did this year.
“It was learning and feeling out process for him this year,” said Sutton.
“Playing here is a whole different ball game, and he was sick a lot of the time playing over here,” he added. “The game here is different than what he’s used to. This was a growing experience for him.”