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Hockey Heroes: Petr Schastlivy

Petr Schastlivy grew up in a small Siberian town of Vikhorevka, playing hockey all winter long - indoor and outdoors even in -35 degree weather - and soccer all summer long. His dad was his coach, which proved to be the real secret to his success. You see, his dad played and coached an adult team. As a 12 year old young Petr was playing against 25 and 30 year old men. 

Talk about a great learning curve. Soon enough Petr was starring in youth tournaments, catching scouts attention in Russia. Petr's dad allowed him to leave home early. He moved to Angarsk for six years, which proved to be the necessary steppingstone to the Russian Elite League with Torpedo Yaroslavl. 

NHL scouts certainly started noticing as he performed well with Yaroslavl. The Ottawa Senators selected him in the fourth round (101st overall) of the 1998 NHL entry draft. 

The highlight of Schastlivy's career came in 1999 as he was part of Russia's gold medal winning World Junior team.

The next year he crossed the Atlantic to pursue his NHL dream, but spent most of the next two seasons in the minor leagues adjusting his game and his life to the North American way.

Despite some promising skill and talent, he never did fulfill his NHL potential. Inopportune injuries played a big role in that. But he was also slight and polite, and that generally does not bode well for long term NHL employment. He had an absolute laser of a wrist shot, but he was reluctant to use it.

In 2003-04 the Ottawa Senators traded him away to Anaheim. It was not an easy decision, as the Senators had previously cut Pavol Dimetra loose prematurely, only to watch him blossom into a star. There was some fear that Schastlivy would do that, too, especially in Anaheim as it was said none other than Sergei Fedorov requested he join the team.

Yet it was just not in the cards. After quietly completing the season in California, he headed home to Russia where he continued to play for many years.

In 129 NHL games Petr Schastlivy scored 18 goals, 22 assists and 40 points. He married Latvian Olympic long jumper Ineta Radevica.

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