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Eric Peterson, Published January 24 2013

Brothers from Russia travel across the globe to Cobbers hockey team

Moorhead - When brothers Dmitry and Danil Kalashnikov moved from Russia to Tennessee about a decade ago, they experienced a bit of hockey culture shock.

In Russia, the siblings usually skated once and sometimes twice a day. That was trimmed to two times a week after the move to Nashville area.

“We thought it would be a hockey atmosphere,” Danil said because the area had an NHL team in the Nashville Predators. “But it’s not.”

Dmitry was 13 when he moved to Tennessee with Danil and their mom.

“I was more excited just about the change and the new things,” said Dmitry, who is now 23 years old. “The hockey wasn’t as good. I realized that.”

Hockey has landed the brothers in Moorhead,

where they play men’s

hockey for Concordia. Dmitry is a sophomore defenseman and Danil is a freshman forward.

“They work extremely hard on their hockey,” Cobbers head coach Chris Howe said. “They have this incredible passion for the game.”

Between Tennessee and Concordia, the brothers have played in Omaha, Neb., Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The two – who are from Saratov, Russia – have been skating since they were a few years old with their uncle being a hockey coach.

“It was basically like daycare since we were little kids at the rink,” said Danil, who is 21.

The brothers not only played high school hockey in Tennessee, they also were on a AAA midget team, which is similar to an AAU basketball travel team. Then they played a year on a AAA team in Omaha before they ended up in Weyburn, Sask., playing junior hockey.

Danil learned quickly that junior hockey could be a rugged game. He got knocked out on his first junior shift after a line brawl broke out.

“I was 18 and I maybe like fought once or twice before?” Danil said. “I didn’t think there was going to be a fight. I look up and everybody was fighting.”

There was one player from the other team on the ice who was not locked in a fight when Danil realized the skirmish had started.

That player was 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Danil said.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Danil said with a smile. “I got knocked out.”

While in Weyburn, Dmitry’s and Danil’s mom, Zhanna Adams, passed away in December 2009.

Dmitry and Danil said the relationships they built through hockey helped them through the tough time.

“I think hockey kept us going,” Danil said. “I wouldn’t have met the people that supported us and I wouldn’t have the motivation to go up every day and go to the rink.”

Their mom also inspired Dmitry and Danil to pursue education.

“She really wanted us to go to school because she always pushed good education,” Danil said. “She was very smart. … She always helped us out with hockey and education. She was selfless.”

Dmitry and Danil were part of a rare trade in 2010 when they were sent from Weyburn to the Neepawa Natives in of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for another set of brothers.

“That was kind of cool,” Dmitry said.

The brothers were on different teams last season. Dmitry played for the Cobbers, while Danil played another season for a junior team in Manitoba.

“I pull for them all the time,” Howe said. “I want them to have so much success.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com