Artist: Todd Miska
From InGoal Magazine:
While the skull and body, “Nabby” on the chin, and number “20″ (for boyhood idol Vladislav Tretiak) are familiar to anyone who has followed Nabokov, not all will know the stories behind all the names on his backplate.
The top names are for his children, Andrei and Emily, and “Warren” is for long-time Sharks goalie guru Warren Strelow, who was a father figure and mentor for Nabokov after first coming to North America before passing away in April 2007 at age 73.
“Anna” is for Anna Gorouven, who also passed away. She was not his wife, though the two of them are the biggest reason Nabokov didn’t return to Russia for good during his first year playing in North America:
“It wasn’t easy to come over, especially my first year, I wasn’t happy the way everything was happening,” Nabokov once told InGoal “One time coach said you are playing today in the morning and then three hours later he came to me and said you are not playing and that’s when I was like ‘OK, maybe it’s time to go back home and said goodbye.’ But then I had a really good friend of mine, she was helping me a lot, Anna, and we sat down and I told her what I was feeling and I was pissed off and said ‘I’m going to go back home. I enjoyed my time at home, my career was good.’ But she said `you’ve got to think about it, you came here to reach certain goals and maybe you should be more patient and stay.’ And then I met my wife – she’s from the States – so I said ‘OK I’ll give it another shot.’”
So a girl kept you here?
“Well, girls, plural.”