Evgeni didn't have to be encouraged. He had always been captivated by hockey. When he was a toddler, Natalia once visited his bed and saw him sleeping in a goalie mask. At 11, he broke his leg during the summer and was on crutches. Vladimir assumed that meant Evgeni would not play in the first hockey tournaments of the fall, and he was shocked when a friend asked him why he wasn't at the game that day to see Evgeni play.
"The coach tried to stop Evgeni," Vladimir says, "but it was impossible."
The game brought joy to Evgeni, but it did not solve everything. His parents still would not let him get a dog.
"He asked very often," Natalia says, "even wrote a school essay that said "My mother does not allow me to get a dog.' "
J. Brady McCollough gives the readers a glimpse at Evgeni's city, history, and his parents beyond the couple at the Consol.
I still can't fathom Evgeni's leaving in 2006 and how that was for him and family.
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