By Lindsay Kramer
South Carolina Stingrays rookie forward Nikita Kashirsky had all the ingredients of a good hockey player in the making from an early age.
A dash of creativity in the bloodlines? Check. Kashirsky’s mother, Marina, is an artist and a fashion designer.
Game sense, both detailed and big-picture? Got it. His father, Sergei, is a former goalie and now works as a hockey agent.
Superstar-to-be childhood friend who sets a standard to pursue every day of your career? Covered there, too. Kashirsky has been best buddies with fellow Moscow native Alexander Ovechkin since they both were barely old enough to hold a stick.
The motivation to follow his role model into the NHL? What do you think?
“If my friend makes it, it definitely puts it in perspective. If he can make it, so can I,” said Kashirsky, 24. “It’s pretty exciting to have him as a friend. He’s out there in the NHL right now. It’s inspiring that I can do the same thing.”
Kashirsky may be a ways off from that level, but he’s quickly outgrowing the ECHL. He paces league rookies in goals (17) is tied for first in game-winning goals (5) and is tied for second in points (30) for a Stingrays lineup that recently ripped off a 13-game winning streak.