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Igor Shesterkin never wore the typical Russian equipment brands that his compatriots did. The bland white pads were never his style.
Many Russian goalies prefer those pads because the look isn’t much of a priority to them. But from the very start of his professional hockey career in 2013 in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, Shesterkin, a Moscow native, had his sights set on North America and the NHL. He was 17 at the time and the third-string goalie for Moscow Spartak, and primarily played with the organization’s junior-level club.
Shesterkin instead sported matching gear from Brian’s, a company that has revolutionized custom goalie equipment. A lot of the North American netminders wore pads that had color and detail, his former Spartak teammate Jeff Glass recalled, so Shesterkin did, too.
“It’s not a shot at the other KHL Russian-born players, but lots of those guys believe the KHL is the top of the pyramid and are very content to get to the top of the KHL and dominate that league,” Glass, the starting netminder for Spartak during that 2013-14 campaign, told The Post in a recent phone interview. “Igor very much was aware that the NHL is what it is and wanted to go after that. The way he wore his gear, the way he paid attention to the North American lifestyle, you could just tell that there was something that he was intrigued by it.