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1982-83 Victor Nechaev New Haven Nighthawks Game Worn Jersey - 1st Russian to Play in the NHL - Photo Match
Lot #553

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1982-83 Victor Nechaev New Haven Nighthawks Game Worn Jersey - 1st Russian to Play in the NHL - Photo Match
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1982-83 Victor Nechaev New Haven Nighthawks Game Worn Jersey - 1st Russian to Play in the NHL - Photo Match
Lot #553

This road blue mesh gamer by Sandow SK was worn by Victor Nechaev (Nechayev) during the 1982-83 AHL season. The Los Angeles Kings selected Nechaev in the 7th round of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. This native of Siberia, Russia is the answer to the popular trivia questions “who was the first Russian trained player to play in and score a goal in the NHL”. Nechaev escaped Communist Russia by marrying an American woman studying abroad in the Soviet Union. After a lengthy legal process, Nechaev gained his freedom and began his North American career in 1982-83 after not playing the entire season prior. When Nechaev arrived in America, he had to his credit 137 goals and 234 points in Soviet League play. Victor signed with the Los Angeles Kings and began play with the New Haven Nighthawks.

After a handful of games, Nechaev got the historic call up to the NHL, making his debut with the Kings against the Islanders on October 16, 1982. The next night at Madison Square Garden, Victor scored his first and only NHL goal, forever placing his in the NHL record books. His NHL career came to an end one game later, after which the Kings released him after he refused to return to the minors. Disgruntled, Nechaev did eventually return to New Haven, playing only 28 games for the Nighthawks before joining the IHL where he played another 10 games with Saginaw. Victor returned to Europe shortly thereafter and played the following season in West Germany with Duesseldorf EG before retiring prior to his 30th birthday.

The game wear on this size Extra-Large sweater is solid and consists of stick and slash marks, board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes and inner pilling. Shown above are a couple of beautiful photo matches of Nechaev wearing this exact jersey during the 1982-83 AHL season. An important figure in the historical sense as it was Nechaev, not Priakhin as most believe, who was the first Russian trained player to play in the NHL. This underrated example is fresh to the hobby and would make a wonderful addition to any serious minor league or Russian collection of jerseys.