Translator of Russian hockey news
By Christopher Hann
2003 was the year the NHL had the lockout, and there was no hockey here. So I decided, well, if I can’t watch hockey here, I’ll check out what’s going on in Russia. I decided maybe hockey would be a good way to try to relearn all the Russian that I’d forgotten. That’s how the translations started.
There’s a publication called BlueShirtBulletin. I had started doing translations for them originally, before I started my own site, beyondtheblueshirts.com. A freelance writer for The New Yorker thought it would be a cool story. He called a couple of times to check on things. And The New Yorker fact-checkers called a couple of times to check on things. And yet they still got something wrong.
In high school I was fully obsessed. I used to keep my own stat sheets. I used to sit in front of the TV, or I’d go to the games and I’d write down all the stats and stuff. My best friend and I would call each other between the first and second periods, because [between] the second and third period was too late to be on the phone. We’d talk about the first period for 15 minutes, and then talk about it the next day in school.
When I was young, there was a movie called The Day After, about the nuclear winter after World War III, and it gave me nightmares. It scared the crap out of me. What did I know? I thought it could really happen. I think that’s where my first interest in Russia came from.
[I majored in] Russian Studies. It made my college search pretty easy. Once you walk around the Forest, with those big oak trees, it’s hard to say “I’d rather go someplace else.”
While I was there, Drew started the second-year seminar. They wanted to give every student the opportunity to go abroad. So I got a free trip to Russia. It was one of the greatest things I ever had the chance to do. The city of St. Petersburg is beautiful. I’d love to go back there. Because the Russian Revolution fascinated me so much, seeing the Winter Palace, where that all took place, was pretty cool.