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Undrafted, yet Unshakeable: The True Underdog Story of Yan Yurevich


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#1

Posted October 25, 2018 - 09:50 PM

Arukas

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"Probably Dimitir Evtuh. The way (he) could move around and put the puck in the net was amazing. I want to score goals like him."

A young Yan Yurevich, speaking through a translator, gave that response when asked who he idolized while growing up in Belarus. The budding forward missed his first year of action with the CAHL North Sydney Silent Pirates, but he continued to stay optimistic and looked forward to make an impact in his second year. He was happy to have another opportunity to play after going undrafted. The few scouts that looked his way noted his impressive physique, but felt he didn't have great hands and that he was too slow to make it in the pros, even at the LIHL level. They were about to be proven wrong.


LIHL


Yurevich finished his second year with North Sydney, tallying 6 goals and 13 assists in 50 games, but only managing to have 11 minutes of ice time per game. When asked if he was disappointed with that fact, Yan replied, "A little, yeah. I want the chance to prove myself like everyone else does. The team always comes first, but I feel like I can do more to help."

With Yan's contract expiring, it was unknown whether or not he'd get another opportunity. Until...

The Michigan Center Fury had just come off of a 14th place finish in the LIHL, after relocating from the San Antonito Black Bears. "We were just looking for some new blood, something to put a spark back in this team", the GM said, addressing the need to add younger talent to an aging roster. There must have been something about Yurevich that caught the attention of the newly-appointed GM, because the first off-season move he attempted was to sign the young power forward. Without hesitation, Yurevich accepted. "I can't believe it, I've loved hockey my whole life, and now I can continue to live my dream". The contract was a two-year deal, so while there was some job security, the message was clear: this is your shot, now go out there and prove it.


Years One and Two


Yurevich's first year in the LIHL proved to be not what he'd hoped, scoring 5 goals and 19 points in an injury-shortened 46 games, all while only logging 9 minutes per game. "We wanted to get his feet wet, I know he was unhappy with the approach, but we had to ease him in while working out some other aspects of this game", the Fury GM said of his rookie's performance. While the Fury improved and made it into the playoffs, they failed to promote. Yurevich was a non-factor, registering zero points in three games and only averaging 6 minutes of ice time.
Yurevich, visibly upset with the way the season went and the lack of ice time, responded by saying, "If they're only going to play me on the 3rd and 4th lines, I guess I'll just have to be the best *expletive* 3rd liner there is".

The Fury had another productive off-season, acquiring Gabryel Nolasco from the Minnedosa Musketeers for a 1st round pick, adding a much-needed 1st-line center. With Yurevich's commitment to a more defensive style, he was given a chance on the 3rd line with roommate James Dunkelberger. "Dunks is a good guy. He's helping me with English but his Belarusian needs a lot of work", Yurevich chuckled. "Yan talks a lot of crap", Dunkelberger joked after a game. "We're always competing because we're on separate penalty kill lines. He always tells me 'I got this' before we go out there on the PK, and most of the times he's right".

He was right.

The Fury finished the season with a record 158 points, clinching an IHL berth. Yurevich played in all 60 games, scoring 15 goals and 38 points, with a +34 on the season. The question was: Had Yurevich done enough to earn a new contract?



To be continued...

#2

Posted October 26, 2018 - 02:43 PM

Balazs

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Yes, I remember, this was my first season. I've finished 2nd in this league with the Thunderbolts. Nolasco was the Fury's powerhouse, he was a terrific player! :) (He finished the season with 100 points (37 goals and 63 assists)!

 

Why did you change back to the Lower Iron?



#3

Posted October 26, 2018 - 03:49 PM

Arukas

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Nolasco was a stud, so was Francis Arena, who played on the same line I believe. I had a lot of good memories with that team.

For personal reasons I stepped away from the game for a few months, mostly because I didn't have time to manage the team like I had been able to. As for why I re-joined with an LIHL team, I like building the team up from the bottom, always have, even with my EA NHL sim franchises.

More of the Yan Yurevich story will be coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!

#4

Posted October 27, 2018 - 09:20 PM

Arukas

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IHL

 

 

 

"We like the tenacity and toughness Yan brings game in and game out. He's a perfect 3rd-liner for us, and we're happy to have him back on the team".

 

Yan Yurevich signed a one-year extension with the Fury, ensuring he would get to play at the IHL level. "The competition only gets tougher from here, so I'm going to have to get tougher as well", Yurevich said about the upcoming season. The Fury stayed active throughout the pre-season, acquiring veteran leadership through free agency to stay competitive with the other teams in the IHL. Yurevich would indeed find himself on the third line along veteran center Bill Bergenskjรถld and James Dunkelberger, which Yurevich claimed was his favorite line at that point in his career. "We couldn't be scored on. We'd hit you, take the puck away, and we'd go down the ice. It was like clockwork."

 

It was expected to be a transition year for the Fury, but they far surpassed expecations, finishing 1st in the IHL, and earned a spot in the BHL. Yurevich improved upon his previous season, scoring 15 goals and 42 points and finishing the year with a +30 rating. While the team was preparing for the jump to the BHL, Yurevich was once again approached about a new contract, this time inking a 3-year deal that paid him $60,000 per season. When he was asked about why he didn't go to free agency or negotiate for more money, Yurevich replied, "This is the team I want to be on right now. The money isn't important, I just want to play hockey."

 

 

 

BHL

 

 

 

The Fury might have been on a roll, being LIHL and IHL champions in consecutive seasons, but the team knew that this year was going to be a real test for them.  The teams were only getting tougher, and much of the Fury's core group of players had to be replaced. After a flurry of trades and free agent signings, the Fury was ready to go for the upcoming season, and Yurevich was ready for another year anchoring the third line. However...

 

"We'd like to give you a chance on the second line. Let's see what you can do."

 

Yurevich was floored. "I don't even know what to say, I'm stunned. With all the guys we have here, to get this opportunity is pretty amazing".  Centered by Gabryel Nolasco and opposite Rasmus Lundqvist, Yurevich would finally get his chance to be on a top six line. As the season got underway, everyone was wondering, would the Fury be able to promote 3 years in a row?

 

The competition was indeed tough, and the Fury placed 5th in the regular season, ending their streak. Yurevich had a career-high 22 goals to go along with 19 assists, and he played in all 60 regular season games. "Bring it on", Yurevich replied when asked about facing a team in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, "I prefer it this way anyway, now we can leave it all out there on the ice". Yurevich's eagerness was apparent, and the rest of the team fed off of that to earn a victory in the first round. However, the Fury would eventually lose in the final round, and failed to promote, something that had been unfamiliar to them. "It's tough, the guys are taking it kind of hard, but we'll be back next season", Yurevich said as he was cleaning out his locker.

 

The Fury did indeed return to the playoffs the following season, after improving on their previous performance and finishing 3rd. Yurevich tallied 22 goals once again to go with a career-high 46 points in 60 games. Yurevich felt the team chemistry would be enough to carry them through. "I've got a good feeling about this season. We kept a lot of the same guys from last year so we were able to grow together as a team. We just have to be strong on our sticks and we can win this".  Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, as the Fury failed to win the final series and were eliminated, leaving even more questions about the team. Was the core good enough to win? Would the next year be enough to improve and be able to promote? There were a lot of decisions to be made during the off-season, including Yurevich's expiring contract. However, as the season was coming to a close, an unannounced press conference was made.

 

"This is a difficult decision, and it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to step down as general manager of the Michigan Center Fury".

 

 

 

To be concluded...






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