Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ponikarovsky turns Canuck

There is also a new Canadian on the Leafs. Forward Alexei Ponikarovsky, a native of Kiev, Ukraine, recently was awarded Canadian citizenship.

"It was 20 questions. They were easy," Ponikarovsky said of the test all prospective citizens have to pass. His friend and linemate, Nik Antropov, who hails from Kazakhstan, quickly cautioned Ponikarovsky. "Don't tell the media it was easy, they'll get it changed," said Antropov, who may have his eye on passing the same test.
I know Alex Mogilny quickly changed his citizenship to American after arriving from Russia, but I wonder how many European players adopt their new homelands when playing in the NHL.

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At 2:56 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger Paul said...

I recall Igor Korolev getting his citizenship while with the Leafs. Some media-type (I have no idea who) suggested that, as a Quinn favourite, he had an outside shot of cracking Team Canada.

He's been playing in Russia for 3 years now so we've probably seen the last of him, but it was a nice enough gesture at the time. Good for Ponikarovsky for doing the same.

At 3:02 p.m., April 05, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Petr Nedved got a Canadien citizenship and I believe has played for Team Canada (World Championships maybe?) back in the mid 1990's.

At 3:30 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger Paul said...

I forgot all about Nedved. He did indeed play for Team Canada, winning a silver medal in the '94 Olympics - the last of the non-NHL Olympics. Paul Kariya was also on that team.

At 4:25 p.m., April 05, 2007, Anonymous Ben said...

Bobby Holik got his American citizenship as quickly as the process would let him.

At 4:32 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger Kel said...

And a lot of Canadian players became US citizens, including some superstars like Yzerman. And I read somewhere that naturalized US citizens in theory must give up other citizenship of other countries, even though US recognized dual citizenship.

At 5:05 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger DaveO said...

I remember Nedved sitting out(pouting) while with the Canucks and making a big deal about playing for Team Canada - later he tried to switch back to play for the Czechs in international tourneys but no go.

Also noteworthy are a variety of Canadian/American dual-citizens (like me) who played for US when their chances of making Team Canada seemed slim at the time, e.g. Brett Hull, Adam Deadmarsh.

At 8:48 p.m., April 05, 2007, Anonymous Paul Penner said...

Don't forget Peter Stastny!

He became a Canadian citizen while playing for the Nordiques and won the 1984 Canada Cup with Team Canada.

Very underrated player.

At 9:19 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Didn't Trottier play for Team Canada in '81 and U.S. in '84?

At 11:30 p.m., April 05, 2007, Blogger sager said...

He did.... Trottier is a North American Indian, so he was a dual citizen and thus could get a U.S. passport, making him eligible for both countries.

Tony Esposito actly. changed his citizenship to play in a couple Canada Cups.

At 7:02 a.m., April 06, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ulf Samuelsson got kicked out of Nagano olympics, because he had become U.S. citizen and lost his Swedish citizenship, which made him ineligible to play for Team Sweden.

I believe that Darius Kasparaitis has a U.S. passport.

At 1:27 p.m., April 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Lemieux, Gretzky, and Bourque also hold US citizenship as do their children. The US does not recognize dual citizenship for anyone, except Isrealis. Canada still recognizes Lemieux, Gretzky and Bourque as Canadians, but the US does not.


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