January 5, 2011 - Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) - Lewiston MAINEiacs
Many of you have noted Kirill Kabanov is not shy! During a recent stretch of being scratched from the line-up while recovering from an upper body injury, Kabanov was in the lobby shaking hands, taking photos, and welcoming fans to the rink at game-time. In the community, he has been equally engaged (there's a great photo in the 12/15/10 Sun Journal), and he's been having a blast meeting people in the L-A area. Funny and candid, it's hard to predict where a conversation with KK will go!
As I introduced myself and suggested we do this interview sometime, Kirill readily agreed and then proposed the time: how about between the first and second periods tonight A smile, a thank you, and pressure to quickly generate questions followed. I needn't have worried about preparation, though, because Kirill sat in the driver's seat while we talked. Taking my pen and paper, he wrote his responses in beautiful English underneath my scratched notes. Did I mention he's not shy International scrutiny and performance pressures have been well chronicled with Kabanov, so outside of that, what else is there to know about Kirill the person
KK on his family: We didn't talk about where Kirill gets his charming personality, but we did establish what his family does for work at home in Russia. His mother is a gynecologist, his father is a businessperson, and his brother is a professional actor and singer.
Languages: Kabanov speaks five languages, and they are Russian, Old Russian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, and English.
Tattoos: There are many, and most are about "hockey stuff." The number 7 is a prominent theme, with playing cards (King and 7) signifying Kirill. There is XVII on the left wrist, which is a tribute to Russian countryman and NHL Hall of Fame Inductee (as a non-NHL player) Valeri Kharlamov (who wore #17). Kirill wears #71 in tribute to Kharlamov. Russian NHLers Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk also wear #71 and #17. Roses and wings soften KK's artistic expression, which is still a work in progress.
At home in Maine: Kirill and goalie Andrey Makarov both live with Tim and Koreen Plourde. As I ask about life at home here, Kirill suddenly starts jamming to the music over the sound system at the Colisee. All evening he's been trying to channel some Russian music to the MAINEiacs crowd, and it's finally on! And yes, Mak would know this song too! We talk about the Plourde's young son, and Kirill says he and Mak like hanging around at home to play with him.
Education: Kirill is in his 5th year of Russian University and is studying Physical Education & Sports, as well as Tourism & Media.
Game Day Rituals: There are a number of things, KK explains. 1) Start to lace skates from the left leg - this has been the way ever since he was a young boy. 2) Never talk to my relatives before the game. 3) Never use cell phones before the game.
Fans: When I explain Lewiston fans love him because he takes time to say hi and is genuine in doing so, Kirill says there's one thing fans can do for him: "Just keep loving me!"
Rapid Fire with Kirill:
Ice cream or cake Ice cream.
Lewy or Kollide Both!
Spending the night in Sweden's Ice Hotel or in France's Eiffel Tower
James Bond or Star Wars James Bond.
Snow or Sand Sand.
Favorite video game Don't have one.
Favorite food Any Russian food.
Kirill, welcome from MAINEiacs fans! We're excited to see you become a successful person and player, and we're glad that path takes you through Lewiston. - Sarah Alto