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Stranded Eagles player gives back to Cape Breton community during pandemic
SYDNEY -- Until the COVID-19 pandemic passes, 19-year-old Egor Sokolov will not be able to return to his home in Russia’s fourth largest city, Yekaterinburg.
Instead, the teenager is making the best of his time by helping others in his adopted hometown of Sydney, N.S.
Sokolov has spent the last three seasons suiting up for the Cape Breton Eagles, a team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He delivered the goods on the ice this year, finishing his final year in Cape Breton as the Q-League’s leading goal scorer.
Now that the hockey season is over, Sokolov is delivering goods off the ice as well – delivering groceries to people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I'm just picking them up and driving around to houses and leaving them on the front step,” says Sokolov.
“It's scary and I think people should take it serious. A lot of people are being infected in Europe and you don't want to be in that situation and I think people should stay home.”
Sokolov would have likely topped 50 goals and led the Eagles deep into the playoffs had the season not been cancelled.
While the turn of events was a bitter disappointment, Sokolov says he’s now turning his energy into giving back to a city that needs him.
“It's going to make me feel a lot better,” says Sokolov. “Obviously, I wanted to finish the season, but I'm doing everything to give back to the community right now.
Ashley Ryan is Sokolov’s billet. She welcomed the teen into her home when he was 17 years old and didn’t speak a word of English.
Now, she says he has become an irreplaceable part of the family and is beloved in the community.
“We're extremely proud,” says Ryan. “His hockey season and career here came to a halt; it's great to see him reach out and help our family and the community.”