A Journey from Winnipeg to Minsk: Tim Stapleton is off to the KHL

Posted by Michael Remis in Winnipeg Jets on July 11, 2012 — No Comments

Last night it was posted on the website for HC Dinamo-Minsk that current UFA and 2011-12 Winnipeg Jet Tim Stapleton had signed a contract to play in Russia for next season. After putting the article into Google Translate, it reads:

HC “Dinamo-Minsk” has reached an agreement in principle with Tim Stapleton

Athletic Director HC “Dinamo-Minsk” Igor Matushkin: “We are pleased that this agreement has been achieved with a hockey player, who wanted to see in the” bison “in the last season. Stapleton has excellent speed and performance characteristics, suitable for our high-speed model of the game. The big plus I think his experience and performance, not only in the NHL, but also in Finland, where the player was able to observe firsthand Kari Heikkila. I hope that Tim will be able to realize their best qualities in Minsk “Dynamo”.”

The Illegal Curve “I-Team” set off to confirm the reports through Stapleton’s agent, but could not get confirmation.

 

This morning, Tim Stapleton confirmed the rumors himself. (This is one of the good uses for athletes’ twitter accounts).


Stapleton had a career year with the Jets playing in 63 games, recording 11 goals and 16 assists. He spent time mostly on the fourth line, but also played the point on the power play. Stapleton’s drawback was size, he is hardly intimidating at 5’9 and 160 lbs. but like most undersized NHL forwards, his best skill was speed.

One of the highlights for Stapleton this season was his performance in the Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition in November. The then 29-year old (he turned 30 on July 9th) surprised by winning the fastest skater competition and placed third in the hardest shot competition behind the much bigger Dustin Byfuglien and Chris Thorburn.

The number one Tim Stapleton highlight of the 2011-12 season was on March 23 in a crucial road game against Washington. In the thick of a playoff race against division rivals, the Jets went down 3-0 early in the second period, only to storm back by scoring three unanswered goals and sending the game to overtime. “Tiny” Tim Stapleton brought Jets fans watching in bars across Manitoba to their feet with this overtime winner, keeping the small glimmer of hope alive that there would be playoff hockey in Winnipeg.

The Illinois native last played in Europe with Jokerit of the Finnish League for two seasons from 2006-08 where he scored 110 points in 111 games. He hopes to achieve the same success in Russia where the bigger ice will benefit his speed and vision.

For the Seinfeld fans who can appreciate a good title, I present this video.

For additional viewing.