FROM RUSSIA, WITH PRIDE


Denis Martynyuk swelled with pride last weekend during 30th
anniversary celebrations of the 1972 Summit Series.

While you may think the lanky Russian left-winger, a 1997 Vancouver Canucks
draft pick who is trying out for the AHL's Manitoba Moose, should have been
thumbing his nose at all the Canadian television programs, newspaper articles
and player reunions, there was a good reason for his happy thoughts.

His father, after all, was part of hockey history.

Alexander Martyniuk, who spent almost two decades as a high scoring right
winger in the pro leagues of the Soviet Union and Austria, suited up for Game
5 of the series in Moscow. It was his only appearance of the series for the
Soviets and he played only a few shifts, but they certainly took their toll.

"Unfortunately, I didn't have much ice time against the professionals,"
Alexander, now 57, is quoted as saying on the Web site 1972summitseries.com.
"But what I had was enough for me. When I looked at my face, battered and
bruised, in the mirror after my only game, I found it hard to believe I was
only on for a few shifts."

If there were one consolation for Alexander, it was the fact that the
Soviets won the game 5-4 with five goals in the third period and took a 3-1-1
series lead.

Alexander didn't get on the score sheet, but he was able to spend the next
30 years knowing that the Soviets failed to win another game without him.

His son, who was born seven years later in Austria while his father
finished off his pro career, is just proud of the fact that his father got in
the game and competed against the top NHLers from Canada.

"It's very great achievement (making) Russian team," said Martynyuk, who is
in the early stages of learning English. "Lots of great players.

"I feel great. I like because it's history."

Martynyuk may not know what the word "famous" means, but he is well aware
of "TSN Classic" and how it re-broadcast those memorable eight games that
Canadians -- and Russians, he said -- have not forgotten.

"I think it was very good deal, very good," he said of the series, "because
Canada (could) see how Russia play hockey and Russia (could) see how Canada
play hockey. It was good for both."

While the Canadians players celebrated with a reunion last week in Toronto,
Martynyuk said his father attended a similar commemoration in Moscow with
high-ranking government officials.

"It was OK," Martynyuk said of his father's reunion. "Good to celebrate and
good to see and meet and speak about this ... and drink. It was fun.

"A celebration of hockey."

After several minutes of trying to comprehend the word "famous" and whether
it applied to his father back home, Martynyuk finally grasped it and the pride
came back again.

"(Those) who play on national teams, everybody know him," Martynyuk said.
"Like last year. Canada win (in) Salt Lake City, everybody who play on that
team, everybody know. Same thing."

Copyright / The Winnipeg Sun 2002