Egor Sokolov has always dreamed big.
From the outdoor rink to the local arena fifteen minutes from his home, the dream of playing professional hockey in North America has always been driving force behind Sokolov’s relentless passion and love of the game.
Nevertheless, the Yekaterinburg, Russia products first recollection of hockey wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
“I was five years old when I started to play hockey,” confessed the high scoring power forward.
“It was a really hard time for me, I didn’t really want to play hockey until I turned 7.”
Call it a streak of stubbornness or just plain set in his ways, young Egor knew he had to trust his parents judgment.
“It was my mom and dad who really pushed me to start playing at five, they pushed me to be a hockey player, and I will be thankful to them for the rest of my life.”
Hard work, and dedication has always come naturally for Sokolov due in large part to his surroundings.
You see Yekaterinburg is a large factory city east of the famed Ural Mountains. Work ethic is simply part of the fabric of the fourth largest city in Russia.
From Yekaterinburg, Russia to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia,
Egor Sokolov remains driven by the dream.
“My childhood dream was just to hope that I will play in the North America,” confessed Sokolov.
Hope, an opportunity, a dream and a hero is all some players need to fulfill their journey in the game.
Sokolov looked up to one of the best goal scorers ever growing up.
“My favorite player ever was Jaromir Jagr,” Sokolov said proudly.
“I love the way he plays the game. Jagr is a big guy who uses his size, he is still my favorite player and always will be,” confessed Sokolov.
From childhood dream to reality.
Egor Sokolov has never feared the space between his dreams and reality.
You could say he’s living out that dream every day with the Cape Breton Eagles.
Sokolov has had an incredible three seasons in the QMJHL.
In 181 career games as an Eagle, the lethal power forward has 165 points.
That’s truly incredible considering the adjustment the Russian import star has made on and off the ice.
So what does all the subsequent success mean?
“It’s means a lot for me to have success because I want to reach my goals, I want to keep working hard every day and I want my dreams to come true.”
Sokolov barely could speak any English when he arrived three years ago in Cape Breton.
People often take it for granted how difficult the transition actually is for import players.
Sokolov is quick to credit his billet family for helping with that transition.
“I got really lucky with my billet family,” admitted Sokolov.
“It’s my second home and I know I’m always welcome here.”
“They help me everyday, they love me, and they just take care of me.”
Sokolov realized right away that is was a perfect fit when he arrived.
“I need them more then anyone else because my parents can’t come and see me whenever they want.”
“It’s something that helped me with my success,” Sokolov added.
There’s no question Sokolov is a fan favourite.
“Cape Breton is my favorite place to play, all people here are really nice there and I love playing at C200, stressed Sokolov.
From his amazing billet family to former and current Eagle teammates, Sokolov is quick to credit Ottawa Senators Prospect Drake Batherson for being a monumental presence in his overall acclimation and success in the league.
“I’m really proud that I lived with Drake, he helped me a lot.”
“Drake was always taking care of me, he brought me everywhere and helped me on the ice a lot,” Sokolov said.
“Since the moment Egor stepped off the plane, not being able to speak one single word to me, I instantly knew he had the most genuine personality and a heart of gold,” said Sokolov’s Billet Mother Ashley Ryan.
“I knew we were truly blessed to have him become part of our family.”
“Egor has the greatest perspective on life, and he can see the best in everyone, and in every situation,” Ryan said.
“Things may have taken a little longer to come to Egsy through his time here, but through it all he has never once lost his motive, his work ethic, and his forever positive attitude.”
“I can proudly say he is without a doubt the hardest working and most determined person I have ever met in my life,” admitted Ryan.
A big impact on the ice and off the ice that’s Egor Sokolov.
“I can’t describe to the world how warm people welcomed me. The fans in Cape Breton are so special, I will always love them,” confessed the Russian forward who is currently ranked 94th on the NHL Cemtral Scouting Midterm List.
The third time maybe the charm for Egor Sokolov.
The 6”4 230 pounder has turned in a dominant performance this season and there’s no doubt that the rangy power forward has an excellent chance of finally getting drafted in his third year of eligibility.
“You know I didn’t get drafted, but it’s something that did help me with my success.”
“It’s just that little extra kick, that you need to work harder, be focused, take care of yourself, and just continue to grow as a person and a player,” Sokolov added.
“At some point 31 teams are going to look at you, not just one.”
Sokolov has experienced the NHL before when he was invited to the Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp, and made it to Main Camp this season.
“NHL camps are just an amazing experience,” Sokolov said.
“It’s special to see all the best players in the world taking care of their body’s, trying to help you and talk to you.”
“I got a lot from those experiences.”
“You need to make decisions way quicker, because you barely have time,” confessed the Russian import star.
What would it mean for the 19 year old to hear his names called in June at the NHL Entry Draft?
“To hear my name at the draft would be a dream to come true,” Sokolov said.
“It’s just another stage of my goal and I want to reach it and keep working hard to get to my most important goal of all to be a NHL player.”
Driven by the dream or in many cases by a dream season.
Egor Sokolov earned his place on the Russian World Junior team that obviously lost a heartbreaker to the Canadians.
“The World Junior is an experience that I will never forget,” Sokolov said.
“It’s the best time of your life.”
“You are playing against all good players, having fun, competing, and growing as a hockey player,” explained Sokolov.
“It’s an awesome time that I will always remember.”
In 33 games this season the multitalented 200ft forward has 29 goals and 29 assists and is a staggering +21.
So how excited is he for having a chance to go on a long playoff run with the Eagles this season.
“We have a great team and it’s my last year with the Eagles, it would mean more then anything else to me” Sokolov said of winning.
“I want us to have a great run, because we have such nice group of the guys, with so much skill and heart.”
“Playing in Rouyn, I didn’t have to play against him a lot,” said four year QMJHL veteran President Cup and Memorial Cup Champion Tyler Hinam.
“Now that I’m playing on the same team as Egor, it’s crazy how good he is.”
“Egor’s combination of size, skill, strength and smarts is deadly,” explained Hinam.
“We will be ready to go through anything,” stressed Sokolov eluding to the second half and President Cup Playoffs.
There’s no question Egor Sokolov is a tremendous leader.
“I would say, as big as Egor’s presence is on the ice his presence is off the ice is equally matched,” said Eagles Head Coach Jake Grimes.
His enthusiasm for life and the game of hockey is at a level you rarely see and his personality rubs off on his teammates and makes our team a better place to play.”
“Egor has done an amazing job with the English language and is known and appreciated across Cape Breton and our league as a player and a person,” Grimes added.
Grimes also raves about the big man’s commitment to excellence.
“Egor’s work ethic never turns off. “Even when it’s recommended he take a break like after the World Juniors he won’t. He flew straight in to play for our team when most players take a week off. He scored 3 goals and 1 assist in that game.”
“Pretty special performance.”
“Pretty dedicated team guy,” admitted Grimes.
What are the NHL Scouts saying?
“Egor has worked hard each year he has been in the QMJHL to improve and has done so with success,” said one NHL Scout.
“Egor has become one of the biggest scoring threats in the QMJHL.”
“He can play pro, if he can just add another step in his skating,” admitted the scout.
“Egor has soft hands for such a big man. He can really score. Uses his body effectively and he’s a smart player,” said another NHL Scout.
“He has gotten better every season since coming to the QMJHL and has a very good chance to get drafted this year,” they added.
Egor Sokolov has always been driven by the dream.
The dream is still alive!