Every professional athlete has a story on how they got introduced to their sport, or what exactly made them fall in love with it. Maybe it was a family thing – maybe their dad, mother, brother, sister or cousin played the sport and influenced it onto them. Maybe they idolized someone who played their respective sport. Maybe it was the only thing that made them happy.
Everyone has a story. But Slepets’ path to hockey is both unique and hilarious. His story to end up where he is as an outstanding hockey player is really a great one.
“The story about my first steps in hockey is quite funny. I was attending kindergarten, and I saw a picture of one of my friends wearing his hockey equipment.” Slepets says. “So, I wanted to be a hockey player and asked my parents to get me playing. No one in my family was interested in hockey before me.” He literally just copied the idea from a random classmate.
"“No one in my family was interested in hockey before me.” – Kirill Slepets"
When he began skating, he couldn’t even balance himself standing up without falling over. But the aforementioned picture of his classmate determined him to be better, and he soon surpassed all his teammates.
His minor hockey coach, Maxim Survilov, worked extensively with Slepets for years to develop his game. “You could already see the characteristics which his strong sides are today, as speed and determination.” Survilov said.
In 2009, when Slepets was 10 years old, his coach Survilov moved to Yaroslavl to coach another team. The problem for Slepets? His hometown of Khabarovsk, Russia is nearly 3700 miles from Yaroslavl, so Slepets remained at home. However, after one year, Survilov and the Lokomotiv minor team were convinced that they really needed Slepets to play for their team.
So, as all 10-year old aspiring hockey players do (sarcasm) Slepets and his mom moved cross-country so Slepets could join the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv pipeline. They found a flat near his team’s home rink in Yaroslavl, Russia, where he started to put together all the pieces for a potential pro career.
To this day, he remains property of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl organization, where he’s signed through 2021. The day he moved was the start of his journey, which leads us to the present.