Gretsky voted by fans into KHL All-Star Game

2 décembre 2019
Never underestimate the power of a flash mob.

In 2015, fans from Latvia stuffed the virtual ballot box to get young countryman Zemgus Girgensons into the NHL All-Star Game. The next season, journeyman enforcer John Scott became the focal point of the fan campaign, and even a trade and AHL demotion did not keep him from playing in the All-Star Game due to overwhelming demand from the fans.

This year, HC Dinamo Minsk of the KHL decided to stage a little campaign of their own. On their roster was one Vyacheslav Gretsky, a 22-year-old centre, from Grodno, Belarus. This Gretsky also wears number 99, but his stats are less than impressive. Even according to his own estimation, he is battling to stay in the KHL rather than being sent down to its farm club, Dinamo-Molodechno of the Belarus Extraleague. In eight game, the young Gretsky has zero points.

Dinamo went for it anyways. The campaign was advertised on the team's Twitter, which also mentioned that Wayne Gretzky's family also came from the Grodno area. As matter of fact, a few years ago, Wayne came to Belarus to meet his cousins, though this particular Gretsky is likely not related.

Now, the young forward will join a more deserving teammate, former NHLer Jhonas Enroth as a KHL All-Star Game starter. Unlike the NHL's attempts to keep Scott out of the All-Star Game, the KHL has embraced this wholeheartedly.

"I was against this [movement] at first," said Gretsky. "I'm just trying to play hockey, stay at the highest level. And here, so much attention, not directly related to my game. I was in shock. But after a few days, I realized that it was out of my hands.

"I don't want to hear constant comparisons with Wayne Gretzky. I have my own life, my own path. Now I'm just accepting it calmly that this is going to be an awesome experience. I'm going to treat it like a holiday, and I'm glad people are supporting me."

Source: <"A HREF=""> Sport Express
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