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Legends of Team Canada: Adrien Plavsic

Adrien Plavsic, like so many Canadians, is a first generation Canadian from immigrant parents who fell in love with the country and it's wintery game.

Plavsic was born in Montreal, but his parents came from a country that does not even exist anymore - Yugoslavia. He is three-quarters Croatian, though his last name is actually Serbian.

His father, Branka, was a sailor who came to Canada in the 1960s. Wife Majda came soon after.

After centuries of fighting, Yugoslavia fell apart in the 1990s. Though Adrien kept an eye on the developments of his parents homeland, he forever appreciated the sacrifices his parents made to give him a better future.

Adrien was unmistakably Canadian, and, like so many other Canadian kids, he grew up at the local rink chasing pucks and dreams. Sure Plavsic enjoyed the family's traditional game of soccer as well - his uncle Drago Rora played for the Yugoslavian national soccer team - but hockey was Adrien's love. 

Plavsic was one of the rare Canadians to have his hockey dreams came true.

Those dreams included a scholarship education at the University of New Hampshire, though, much to his parents' concern, he left after just one season to pursue hockey goals. 

After being drafted 30th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1988 NHL draft, Plavsic decided to fast track his development as a prospect. 

"Getting drafted was one of the biggest thrills of my life," he said. "I always knew I wanted to play in the NHL and I finally saw my dream come true."

Before he reached the big leagues he was recruited by Dave King to play for Canada's national team. Plavsic, a powerful skater with strong instincts for the game, learned much about the defensive side of the game under King.
"Playing for the national team was an excellent opportunity for me," he said. "I got to play top-quality hockey and, at the time, I thought it was the fastest route to the NHL."
Plavsic joined the Blues' organization the next season, but never stuck. He would join the Vancouver Canucks by season's end and would play the bulk of his 214 NHL game career on the west coast.

Plavsic would leave the Canucks and return to the Canadian national team for the 1991-92 season. He was seeking further development and ice time, as well an Olympic medal. Plavsic helped Canada win the silver medal at the 1992 games in Albertville. 

"The Olympics really helped me gain my poise," he said. "I'm a lot more comfortable on the ice now. I really owe a lot to Dave King. He taught me a lot."

Plavsic returned to the Canucks before embarking on a vagabond career that saw him play in Tampa and Anaheim before settling in Switzerland.

You never know where life will take you. In Plavsic's case he played mostly in Zurich where he met the woman who would become his wife. He remains in Switzerland as a hockey coach but also shares his vast experiences as a life coach and integrative nutrition for people in and out of hockey.


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