The Russian team has been suspended from the World Youth Ice Hockey Championship, but at least one person associated with Russia is present at the tournament. This is the forward of the American youth team – Sasha Pastukhov. In the opening match of the championship – with Germany – the striker scored an assistant double.



Canada mocked Slovakia, the main star has a record.  Results of the day MFM
Canada mocked Slovakia, the main star has a record. Results of the day MFM

For Pastukhov, the current MFM is the second in his career. True, the previous time Sasha played only one game in the tournament. The striker celebrated his 19th birthday only in mid-July, so the regulations will allow him to play at the next championship.

However, Pastukhov’s finest hour was another tournament: at the last JWCH, Sasha scored 8 (5+3) points in five games. This was not enough to compete in the scorer race with Matvey Michkov, Shane Wright and Mason McTavish, but Pastukhov was not equal among teammates.

With an excellent game, Sasha attracted additional attention from the NHL scouts. As a result, the hockey player left the draft at the very beginning of the third round – Anaheim took him under the 66th number.

Sasha Pastukhov

Sasha Pastukhov

Photo: usahockeyntdp.com

“The amazing thing about Sasha is that he gives results in almost every game,” David Gregory, senior manager of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, assessed Pastukhov’s abilities. – Sometimes it seems that he is not very noticeable, but it just means that he knows how to stay in the background, making his contribution to the team’s game. He plays very confidently in conditions of tight guarding, knows how to find free ice, he has a bright head and wonderful hands. Add to that an amazing shot that allows him to score points, and you have a hockey player with great potential.”

Until he came of age, Pastukhov played for the junior team of America not only at the international level. Sasha defended the colors of the US National U18 Team and in the US Hockey League. In the States, the junior team traditionally plays in the championship with other teams so that hockey players can “cook” in a more competitive environment. Previously, this team went through including Rick DiPietro and Patrick Kane.

But since last season, Pastukhov’s career has gone according to an atypical scenario for an American hockey player. He went to the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. From today’s youth team of the United States, in addition to Pastukhov, only one more player performs in Canada.

Perhaps the desire to achieve their own goals in an unusual way went to Sasha by inheritance. His father, a native of Tula, Georgy Pastukhov, emigrated to the States in the year of the collapse of the USSR. In search of a better life, at that time 28-year-old Georgy got a job as an interpreter in a touring circus, where he met 40 Russian artists and his future wife, Janice.

George and Janis Pastukhov

Georgy and Janis Pastukhov

Photo: www.nhl.com

“A unique story. My mother rode elephants. You rarely see this, ”Sasha said after the draft. True, Pastukhov Jr. himself could only see this in the performance of his mother in photographs: when Janice became pregnant with Sasha’s older brother, she had to leave the circus.

Nick Pastukhov was born in 1998, a year later Michael was born, and Sasha’s family was replenished in 2003. All three sons eventually became hockey players. Nick plays in the ECHL, and Michael has already disappeared from the radar, although at the 2017 JWCH he was considered quite an important figure in the US team.

The father of the family does not require outstanding results from his sons. “From the very first day, they never had the task of getting into the NHL,” Georgy said. “I wanted to teach them how to play hockey because I love this game so much. We didn’t even talk about the student championship. But over time, they have achieved some success, and such prospects seemed very real to us. If one of them gets into the NHL, our common dream will come true.

At the same time, Pastukhov Sr. did not skimp on investing in the careers of the boys. When George left the circus, the family moved to Florida. Here, Nick, as a pioneer, went to the hockey section. The skating rink was an hour’s drive from the Pastukhovs’ house, and on weekends they had to go to the stadium in the neighboring city of Estero – where hockey players took part in children’s tournaments.

“Besides us, no one else played hockey in our area. Our childhood was different, we are not like other children from Florida,” George recalled.

Brothers Pastukhov

Brothers Pastukhov

Photo: www.nhl.com

Sasha Pastukhov is no longer a small hockey player from Florida, but still he is not like the others. “He has established himself as one of the best born 2003 players in North America. His scoring instinct and understanding of the game is almost at the elite level. Every time he goes on the ice, there are threats at the opponent’s goal. It is simply amazing how he knows how to find and create space for himself, ”sasha wrote experts from the Prospect Pipeline website about Sasha.

By regularly demonstrating such circus skills on the ice, the American has every chance of making his hockey career exceptional.

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