Ex-Vegas Golden Knights Vadim Shipachyov: From Las Vegas To A Gold Medal

Vadim Shipachyov
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 28, 2018: Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) presents Olympic champion, ice hockey player Vadim Shipachyov with an Order of Friendship at a ceremony to award Russian medallists of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Moscow Kremlin. Mikhail Metzel/TASS (Photo by Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images)
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A farm club for an Olympic Champion

Yesterday, news of former NHL player Vadim Shipachyov being sent to a farm club of the SKA Saint PetersburgSKA Neva went viral. It was a short reassignment. A day later he returned back to the main club. This action was just a technical formality, while players, who participated in the 2018 Olympics, went to Moscow to receive awards from Vladimir Putin for their medal wins. As Shipachyov had signed a two-way contract, he was sent to the SKA Neva club. There was never any intention of playing him for the club, but a way to clear a roster spot while he participated in the Moscow awards ceremony.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

On May 4th, 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights made Vadim Shipachyov the second player signed by the franchise. During the summer, not much was heard about Sin City’s latest player, and many assumed he would be given a top-six role with the club. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you happen to be Vadim Shipachyov.

He was sent to the minors as the Golden Knights faced an early season roster crunch, but told that he did not have to report. When he finally got in the lineup, it took the Knights just three games to conclude, that he was not staying in Nevada. The “Russian Crosby from the Vologda Oblast” was sent to the minors again. When he did not report the second time, he became the first player ever retired from the NHL as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. Also, he was the first player outside the Western Hemisphere who played for the team.

A record man

One is not sure if representatives of the Guinness Book of Records have already contacted Shipachyov. They should be in a hurry. The achievements of the SKA Saint Petersburg forward are piling up fast. In the 20017-18 he has done the following:

• signed and played for two teams of major hockey leagues (Vegas Golden Knights and SKA Saint Petersburg)
• was sent to two farm clubs of both of those teams, despite not playing for either farm club.
• refused to play at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. Left Russia.
• returned to Russia, became a member of the O.A.R. Olympic Team and won a gold medal in Pyeongchang

• met Vladimir Putin, who awarded him an Order of Friendship

Vadim Shipachyov Shows His Talents

The hockey season is not over yet. Vadim Shipachyov may again be a headliner in the news, and more than once. However, there is one thing which is not news to anyone who follows the KHL. The centre is a very talented and skillful player. His ability to distribute a puck made him a top three scorer in 2016-17 and was why he signed in Vegas.Even in this season, after all his escapades, he is productive statistically. So far, he scored nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in 21 games.

The fact, that he did not find his spot at the NHL is a misfortunate set of events which led to the rupture with the Vegas Golden Knights. Who knows how his career would be, should he signed with the Montreal Canadiens or one of the other teams rumoured to be pursuing him last year. Would things have worked out differently? Would he have been given more of an opportunity to find his way at the NHL level, and in learning to play on the smaller ice? These are questions that no one has the answer for. Instead, Shipachyov continues to go about his business as one of the top players, on one of the KHL’s top teams, and as a member of the Russian National Team at events like the Olympics, World Championships and World Cup of Hockey.


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