The National Hockey League is usually considered the best professional league in the world, so most of the globe’s best hockey players end up here. Many of them hail from Canada, like the recently retired Colorado Avalanche star Joe Sakic. Others come from across Europe.
Consider the case of Paul Stastny, the young Avalanche center whom the team will likely build around for the next decade. According to Sports Illustrated, Stastny’s family bloodlines reach back to Eastern Europe and took an interesting route in bringing him to the NHL.
See if you can follow along: Stastny’s father, Peter, is from the former Czechoslovakia but went on to play for the Quebec Nordiques (the franchise that became the Colorado Avalanche). He and his wife had their son Paul in Quebec, where they lived until he was six, at which point they moved to St. Louis. Paul lived there until he went to college at the University of Denver and now, as you know, plays for the Avalanche.
Despite the Slovakian roots, Stastny says playing for Team USA in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics “comes naturally.”
Meanwhile, former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings yesterday, uniting the two things that Avs fans hate most (via The Associated Press).
Bertuzzi is best known around here for sucker-punching the Avs’ Steve Moore in 2004 and driving his face into the ice, breaking three vertebrae in Moore’s neck. The mauling ended Moore’s career, and he’s suing Bertuzzi, the Canucks, and the company that owns the team for $38 million.Paul