Since he was an NHL rookie at 19 years old, Ivan Provorov has never missed a game in his career.
That’s 315 straight games.
Only one NHL defenseman has ever played more games in succession with the same team to start their career — Dan Girardi at 330 for the Rangers from 2007 to 2011.
When the native of Russia came to the United States to continue pursuing his NHL dream, he was only 14 years old and played in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His tier II junior Knights team had only five defensemen, so Provorov quickly became accustomed to eating up minutes and seldom leaving the ice.
“Kind of my whole life I’ve played a lot,” Provorov said in February. “It’s what I love doing.”
It’s what he still does at the highest level.
During the NHL stoppage because of the coronavirus outbreak, Provorov has found himself back on the ice in the Wilkes-Barre area. It’s hard to keep him off of it. The 23-year-old is living with his former billet family, the folks that helped him grow up in America. The house has a gym so he’s able to work out and nearby there’s a private rink around the size of a tennis court, Provorov said, where he gets in some solo skating.
“It’s just me, no one else, so still following the rules with social distancing and everything like that,” Provorov said Thursday on a conference call. “Luckily I’m able to skate and work out.”
He’s happy to be around his billet family of three sisters and two brothers.
“They’re lovely people,” Provorov said.
“When I was 13, I came over for a few tournaments and when I was 14, I came over for my first year and stayed here for two years and remained a very close relationship with the people here.
“It has definitely been really nice to spend some time with them, just hang out, play some games, talk, catch up on some things and kind of sit back, look back and laugh at all the times that we had when I stayed here. During the year, everyone is busy. Three kids are in colleges and the other ones are finishing high school. Everyone is busy. Probably three, five times a year they’re able to come to games. Previous years I would always go there for Christmas break. It was definitely nice to get here and spend some time with them.”
Provorov, who has played just a tick under 24 minutes per game in his four seasons with the Flyers, is training hard (per usual) to keep his big-time endurance levels for when or if the 2019-20 season resumes.
Not as hard as the offseason, though. At least not for him.
“In the offseason, there’s 10 weeks of hell, going 10 to 11 hours a day,” he said. “Here’s a little less, probably spending around five or six hours trying to stay in shape, maintain, doing different stuff that I can for me to stay in shape.
“I’ve been working out most of the time and skating whenever I can. … Doing that for half the day and then half the time just spending time with my billet brothers and billet sisters.”
Just like old times.
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