Northern Star: Pavel Mikhasenok and Artur Terchiyev

For this week's Northern Star, we highlight the relationship between two players from countries who are currently at war with each other.

SUPERIOR, Wisc. – This month marks five years since turmoil began between Russia and Ukraine. Two players on the UWS men’s hockey team know all about it: Russian Pavel Mikhasenok and Ukrainian Artur Terchiyev.

“We’ve know each other for five years because we went to school together back at Everest Academy. And we room together also so we never talk about it and it never bothers us,” said Mikhasenok.

“Of course I care. I worry about what’s happening there. I get a lot of news coming from my parents and grandparents,” Terchiyev said.

The pair are less interested in the politics that divide them, and more interested in things that bring them together, like hockey.

“There’s an obvious conflict but for me and Pavel, I think we just put it aside. None of us are there at the time. We’re both here on the same team so we put it aside. It’s a really good friendship we have,” said Terchiyev.

“Most of it is politics. But in terms of people and how the people treat each other, it’s the same,” Mikhasenok said.

“We want guys who bleed black and yellow, and we leave it at that. We’re Yellowjackets. That’s what brings us together. You chose to come here. We invited you here into our family. Family sometimes have fights, squabbles, whatever you want to call it. But at the end of the day, we’re all Yellowjackets and we make sure that’s the #1 priority for all of our guys,” head coach Rich McKenna said.

Mikhasenok and Terchiyev are not the only players on the Yellowjackets team with international ties, including players from Canada, Latvia, Finland and Sweden.

“Our International Admissions Department is top-notch, first-class. They do a great job of helping me navigate through certain things. I think it brings an element to our campus that allows us to separate ourselves from the rest of the UW system,” said McKenna.

“I would say there’s a lot of diversity. I think it’s fun and probably more fun than playing with the same culture of people on the same team,” Mikhasenok said.

“It’s unreal. I think everyone brings a little piece from their culture. It’s been very fun and a very cultural team. I think it helps a lot,” said Terchiyev.

The line-mates are a key part to the jackets strong finish to the season. And who knows? Maybe their relationship can be a positive example to the people in their home countries.

“I don’t think it matters where you come from or where you were raised. At the end of the day, we’re all humans and I think we should all get along,” Terchiyev said.

“You get those outside noises but they really don’t bring it into our room. Our guys are also human beings, not just hockey players. I take great pride in that in our program. So we ask how Mom and Dad are doing. Some guys have family over there or wherever they are. Everyone has a different story,” McKenna said.

“I think when they go back and talk to Mom and Dad, they will also know that they’re in a safe environment and I think it allows to move forward in positive ways, even when like at the start of the season when things weren’t going our way, we were still able to use that as a tool to bond a little bit more.”

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