Athlete of the Month: Andrew Kurapov

By Julia McDermott, Sports Editor

When he was just 2 years old, Andrew Kurapov put on a pair of skates and stepped onto the ice for the very first time. He tried them out on a couple of local ice rinks, skating with the help of his parents, and absolutely hated it. The problem, however, was not the act of skating, but the type of skates he was wearing. Figure skates didn’t suit him, only hockey skates did the trick.

Since the switch and the joining of his first team when he was 4 years old, Kurapov has maintained his preference for hockey skates, spending the spring of 2014 traveling from his former home in Oregon to Canada every weekend to play hockey.

Now, after moving to Maryland, sophomore Kurapov is a member of the varsity 1 hockey team.

“The guys welcomed me to the team and we went out for a team dinner, so I got comfortable pretty quickly,” Kurapov said. “It has been pretty cool. We get along well and play well too.”

In the 14 games in which he has played for the Bulldogs, Kurapov has scored 23 goals and had 22 assists, making him the team’s top scorer.

“He has a good sense of the game, and he usually knows where he is going to go with the puck before he gets it,” head coach Ray McKenzie said. “He has the moves of a great goal scorer.”

As an offensive leader for the Bulldogs that still helps out on defense, Kurapov has been an extremely dynamic player for CHS this season, contributing to wins over rival teams such as WJ, Whitman and Wootton, the 2014 state champions.

“He passes as well as anyone on our team and does a great job of setting other people up for goals,” McKenzie said. “He works hard defensively and sets a great example.”

Known by his teammates for his intense concentration, it is his undeniable persistence and hard work that makes Kurapov a leading player for the varsity 1 team.

“Andrew is a great teammate to play with,” junior varsity one player Trevor Dixon said. “He always has a positive attitude and is focused for practice as well as games.”

Combined with a seasoned CHS squad selected specifically for the varsity 1 team, including  many 2013 state champion winners, Kurapov adds an extra element to an already dangerous offense.

“I play with Phil Satin and I like that because we both see the ice well and know where each other is,” Kurapov said. “We have developed great chemistry this season and hopefully it continues.”

Although he’s not the biggest or tallest player on the ice, Kurapov still finds a way to stand out, weaving through opponents with his impeccable stick skills, a blur of a blue jersey and the number 92.

“Andrew makes the players around him better, which is not easy to do,” McKenzie said. “He’s a team player who likes to pass as much as score. He works hard in practice and has a great attitude on and off the ice.”

With Kurapov starting on the CHS front line, the Bulldogs have their eyes set on the postseason, where they may face rivals Wootton and B-CC. The ultimate goal, however, is to repeat the team’s achievement in 2013 and win another state championship.

“Hockey is special to me because I’ve been playing it for a really long time,” Kurapov said. “I’m happy about my achievements, and I’m hoping to make another with the Churchill team.”

With two years left to play for CHS and a likely lengthy hockey career ahead of him, Kurapov is aiming to play hockey for U.S. Juniors, a Division I college program, and ultimately, the NHL.

“Andrew is an excellent player who will continue to get better,” McKenzie said. “The sky is the limit for his hockey future.”