How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Website combines hockey madness and Russian roots, with (g)love

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Twenty years ago, Russian players in the National Hockey League were still relatively rare; today, they and other Eastern European players are among the best represented foreign-born players in the league.

Unlike, say, Major League Baseball, whose website offers content in a mere four languages, the NHL offers it in eight: English, Russian, French, Finnish, Swedish, Czech, Slovenian, and German. In places like L.A., home to a large Russian immigrant population, the league has reached out to fans with events like the Kings' "Russian Heritage Night."

There are also 1.5 and second-generation fans like Sergei Miledin, 26, who edits an English-language site for fans of Russian players called From Russia With Glove. Miledin posts updates on Russian players in the NHL and elsewhere on the site and on Facebook, sometimes with endearing post-Cold War quirks, like referring to a player as the "comrade of the night" ("People have this weird perception that everybody in Russia calls each other 'comrade,' " he says).