NHL Player Shows Up For Pickup Games, Goal Scoring Ensues

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For those of us that are familiar with the pickup game experience, we’re well aware that there are three types of dudes that you can routinely find in any given pickup game.

- There’s the guy that can’t play, and he knows it.
- There’s the guy that can’t play, but he thinks he can.
- There’s the guy the guy that can play.

Every blue moon, you can find the guy that can REALLY play. The Pelham Ice Rink had their presence graced with that guy in the person of the Atlanta Thrashers’, Maxim Afinogenov. And what unfolded was a goal scoring good time.


Jeff Cheeseman, director of hockey for the Pelham Civic Center, couldn’t believe it when he got the call from [Maxim] Afinogenov’s agent.
“His agent said he wanted to skate,” Cheeseman said. “So I told her we had an adult pick-up game on Tuesday nights, and (Afinogenov) showed up. We limit the number of players, so you have to sign in and pay $10. I made sure his name was first on the list.”

“He was very professional, sharing the puck and everything,” Cheeseman said. “Then I told him we have a little better level of competition on Thursday nights with BASH (Birmingham Area Select Hockey). These are guys who played college or minor league, a few of the old Birmingham Bulls.”

The biggest problem Thursday turned out to be which team Afinogenov played with. He started out on the Black team and within 10 minutes the score was 7-2, with Afinogenov scoring all seven goals — “the quickest paced 10 minutes we’ve ever played,” Cheeseman said.

At that point he was “traded” to the White team, which wound up winning, 16-13.

“Of the 29 goals, Maxim scored 17, including the last three after it was tied, 13-13,” Cheeseman said. “And he didn’t come off the ice in either the second or third periods. He told us he was looking for conditioning. And besides, who was going to tell him to come off?”

And that’s what happens when the guy that can REALLY play makes his way into the pickup game experience.

Melick: Fed Cup lures ‘Mad Max’ to Pelham (The Birmingham News)

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