Dale Money | May 5th, 2020
Valeri Kamensky has a very full and fascinating Ice Hockey story. Born and bred in the town of Voskresensk Russia. It’s a town in which several former NHL players were born, including Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, and Andrei Markov. Known as one of the more dynamic players during his generation, he was a fluid skater along with being an adept passer and skills man. Kamensky’s infamous mid-air spinning goal on John Vanbiesbrouck, would, in fact, be added as the intro to the EA video game NHL 98.
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In 1999, Kamensky would be featured on a CBC episode of the Fifth Estate along with former NHL Player Viacheslav Fetisov. Which was in regards to the Russian Mafia and it’s alleged connections to Russian born players in the NHL.
Draft: 1988, 129th Overall, Round 7, Quebec Nordiques
NHL Clubs: Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, and New Jersey Devils.
Stanley Cups: Won a Title with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche
Drafted into the NHL by the Quebec Nordiques, four months after success at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Kamensky played two more years with CSKA Moscow following his draft, before settling in with the Nordiques in 1991. Kamensky played parts of four seasons in Quebec City. During his time with the Quebec, Kamensky would finish 11th all-time in team scoring, with 153 points in 173 games played.
Following the club’s late-season move to Colorado in May of 1995, Kamensky would, in fact, have the honor of being the first-ever player, to score a goal as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. It was during that same season, Kamensky would be paired with Peter Forsberg and Claude Lemieux, to make up the well-regarded “The UN Line”. They would go onto become a dominant force in NHL that year, with each of them hitting the 30 goal mark.
And while names like Forsberg, Joe Sakic, and Patrick Roy have become synonymous with that incredible Stanley Cup run. It would be fair to say Kamensky has gotten lost in the shuffle to a certain extent. given he would finish second in team scoring, during that tournament. Kamensky would contribute 22 points (10 goals and 12 assists) in 22 games played. He currently ranks sixth on the club in all-time playoff scoring.
Perhaps the most talented left-winger in club history. Kamensky would leave the Avalanche, ranked 11th and 12th all-time in goals and points scored respectively.
NY Rangers/Dallas/New Jersey
After the 1999 season, Kamensky would join the New York Rangers after signing a four- year 17 million dollar deal. Due to injuries, he played just 123 games in just two seasons with the Rangers, scoring 66 points. He would be let go after finishing out half of his contract. Kamensky would split the following two seasons between the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils. Kamensky’s career had already been winding down by that time, as he would suit up for only 54 games before finally calling it quits.
Before Kamensky got the big break in the NHL, he was well regarded in International ice hockey for nearly a decade. Kamensky began his career at the age of 16, joining home town Voskresensk Khimik HC. Kamensky would play 75 games with Voskresenk over the course of three seasons, before being drafted into Military duty and then earmarked for a playing career with CSKA Moscow.
At the time CSKA Moscow was the dominating force in Russian Hockey. By the time Kamensky had joined the team in 1985, they had already won nine straight Russian Open Championships. And during his six-year playing career with them, they would win four more in 1986,1987,1988 and 1989 before they would drop off. Kamensky would be named Soviet MVP in 1990 and was honored as the first Russian to be named Triple Gold winner.
Kamensky was a member of six gold medal-winning rosters, during his playing career. He was an integral part of the Soviet Union team that won gold at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary Alberta. During that tournament in Calgary, Kamensky would have contributions of six points (4 goals and 2 assists) in eight games played.
Kamensky would leave North America for good, after the end of the 2001-02 season, following his one year tenure with New Jersey. The next season, Kamensky would re-join the club that gave him his start in the Sport 23 years prior. He would play two more seasons with Voskresensk, before hanging them up for good in 2005. These days Kamensky is currently on the Board of Directors to the KHL.
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