Wednesday, 3 August 2022

I Need The Back Story

I need you to look closely at the moment captured above at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. That's Belorussian forward Andrei Kostitsyn being drafted by Montreal after playing with the KHL's CSKA Moscow. One could argue that the Canadiens made a mistake drafting Kostitsyn at tenth-overall, but the real mistake is on the Canadiens jersey they handed him after choosing him with the tenth pick. Look closely.

NHL teams are usually very good at ensuring their first pick in any draft get a jersey. Some have their names affixed via velcro in case there are any surprises, but the name bars used in those situations have the correct spelling of the player's name on it. Except Montreal didn't have the correct spelling as they gave Kostitsyn a jersey with "Kastsitsyn" on it. Close, but no cigar?

I'm curious about how such an egregious misspelling would happen at the NHL level when it comes to a player's name. Teams have interviewed players who were on their radar long before 2003, so it's not like Kostitsyn's name wouldn't have been known prior to the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Even if there was some confusion over the Cyrillic writing in Russia, Google Translate seems to have no issue with the spelling of Kostitsyn's name which makes this even more baffling.

If anyone has the back story on how a mistake like this could happen, I'd love to hear it. If you work for the Canadiens and you're reading this, please reach out because I'd love to know how "Kostitsyn" became "Kastsitsyn" in the minds of Les Canadiens. Whatever the case my be, I'm almost certain the story will be a good yarn on drafting European-born players!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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