What it takes to make it: Hockey Unlimited’s fifth episode will explore junior players’ courage

Coming to Canada, having crossed the Big Pond (a.k.a. the Atlantic Ocean) to pursue one’s dreams takes a lot of courage.

The fifth episode of Aquila Productions’ documentary series, Hockey Unlimited, focuses on two such brave young men. Their dream is to make the NHL, and they are now honing their skills in Canada’s major junior leagues.

This episode of Hockey Unlimited airs first on Monday, March 2, on Rogers Sportsnet (see detailed schedule below), with repeats coming up during the following week.

A Long Way From Home, that’s where Yakov Trenin finds himself. Just check the distance between Chelyabinsk, Russia and Quebec’s Gatineau. It’s more than eight thousand kilometres.

A rookie with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Trenin has been giving a good account of himself. Whether it’s good enough for him to land the coveted NHL job, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Latvian Edgars Kulda, last year’s Memorial Cup MVP, is more than seven thousand kilometres away from home. A third-year player with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, he’s considered talented enough to make it to the show.

Hockey Unlimited speaks to both players, and their billet parents, coaches and teammates. We get a close insight into what it’s like to risk it all while pursuing one’s dreams.

Let’s Do Lunch is the name of the second episode.

Most players (and general managers) in the professional leagues will agree that it makes good sense for players to have others represent them. Especially during contract negotiations: the player thinks so highly of himself he’s close to believing he’s the Second Coming, while the general manager, trying to meet his budget, will maintain it’s only his generosity that drives him to keep that player gainfully employed playing hockey. Besides, today’s contracts are filled with legalese, and so is a professional athlete’s life in general. Just imagine paying taxes on the millions you’ve made a season.

That’s where player agents come in. They take the brunt of respective general managers’ stinginess. They know how to spread your income over more years so that your taxes due become at least a tad more palatable. And they can do a lot of other things for the players they represent.

But the relationship has to start somewhere. And that’s what this chapter is all about: following player agents as they approach AAA Bantam- and Midget-age hockey players who come to their attention as promising young prospects and prospective clients.

Not all that glitters turns out to be gold. But even if you don’t become a millionaire several times over, playing hockey for at least some money can be rewarding, too.

I Was A Hockey Player profiles Wes Goldie, the all-time leading scorer in the East Coast Hockey League. Goldie never got rich or particularly famous as a minor league pro, but it’s clear from this heartwarming story that he has no regrets about the game, nor should he.

And, as always, Hockey Unlimited features valuable tips on hockey fitness from high-performance personal trainer Simon Bennett and on-ice skills from NHL instructor Steve Serdachny.

 

BROADCAST SCHEDULE

 

Mon. Mar. 2 9 PM PT (Midnight ET) SN Ontario
Mon. Mar. 2 10:30 PM PT (1:30 AM ET) SN One
Thurs. Mar. 5 10:30 AM PT (1:30 PM ET) SN One
Thurs. Mar. 5 9 PM PT (Midnight ET) SN One
Fri. Mar. 6 Noon PT (3 PM ET) SN Pacific, SN West
Fri. Mar. 6 11:30 PM PT (2:30 AM ET) SN Pacific, SN West
Tues. Mar. 10 10 AM PT (1 PM ET) SN Pacific, SN West, SN Ontario, SN East

 

And, as the usual television saying goes, check your local listings to confirm program updates

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