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Rambler's Top100

24 мая 2006 года. 
The art of paintball war // The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Slava Kozlov was once a member of the Soviet Union's Red Army, technically, but he never attended boot camp. You would never know it by the way the Thrashers' left wing meticulously cleans his paintball gun in preparation for a few hours of fun.

Kozlov said he sees parallels between paintball and hockey.

"I think so — strategy, support to each other. I think that why we get killed today," he said.

Fortunately Kozlov and several of his Thrashers teammates have lived to fight other days in what has become among their favorite pastimes. Kozlov first got involved in paintball when he played for the Detroit Red Wings. Brendan Shanahan and Darren McCarty were the ringleaders, and Kozlov got sucked in, eventually buying his own gun — the one he used Tuesday at the American Paintball Club in Winder for games with teammates, team employees and two Journal-Constitution writers.

Unlike Kozlov, who is wearing a Thrashers' track suit from head to toe in the mid-80-degree heat — for extra protection, he says — Eric Boulton, an occasional hunter, sports camouflage, including a brown-and-green mottled cap with the logo of the University of Georgia.

Jaroslav Modry, with his easy-going personality making him seemingly the most unlikely of war gamers, asks, "You ready to run around in the woods? Play like little kids?"

The day began with some brief instruction on safety and rules from the paintball club workers. Then the players don their safety masks — a cross between Darth Vader and the kind of garb a death metal band might wear — and set out for a course in the woods. (Kozlov also owns his own mask: "The first couple of games, the mask was too foggy. Every time — Bam! Bam! — right in my head.")

The mix of realistic looking weapons and severe masks at first gives the game the aura of gun violence, but then the fun begins. It's an adult version of tag with the painful sting of defeat — psychologically and physically — coming in the form of a half-inch exploded (or, often enough, unexploded) plastic pellet that leaves some nice red welts.

"It's fun to shoot someone," Boulton said. "There's strategy and teamwork. "You try to do it yourself, and you don't accomplish much."

Boulton, another member of the largely unsuccessful yellow team, performed one of his side's most fruitful forays — a flanking maneuver in an urban warfare course.

"When you're running around, not knowing if you're going to get shot or not, it's a rush," Boulton said during a break between games.

Greg deVries is the ringleader for the Thrashers' paintball games. A native of Sundridge, Ontario, located in a semirural area three hours north of Toronto, de Vries took up the sport.

On spacious land surrounding his cottage there, deVries would play games with friends and family. That group so feared getting hit at first, deVries said, that it wore snowsuits in summer for protection. (Thrasher Marc Savard, apparently for the same reason during one game this season, sat safely behind an embankment until his gun would no longer shoot, then pronounced himself "dead.")

When he played for the Colorado Avalanche, deVries said the team would play periodically during the season on courses in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

"It's pretty fun, as you can see," deVries said. "You get a good adrenaline rush."

Kozlov said when he played for Detroit, the road trips were longer in the Western Conference and the players would bring their gear for games in Anaheim or Vancouver. Training camp in Traverse City, Mich., apart from family and the Detroit metropolis, was another site of games.

At coach Bob Hartley's instigation, deVries organized a paintball game during the NHL's Olympic break in February at an indoor course.

The team also played in March at Barnsley Gardens as part of a team-building exercise during a brief retreat.

"We had a blast at Barnsley Gardens," deVries said. "It gets the team going, a little competition. It's always fun."

Страничка Вячеслава Козлова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


11 января. Козлов – 600-е очко в карьере, Ковальчук – наконец-то догнал Ягра. 

4 декабря. Thrashers' Kozlov playing for hometown team // The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

10 ноября. Вячеслав Козлов: "Российский хоккей все еще в ХХ веке" // Спорт-Экспресс

3 сентября. Вячеслав Козлов: "Федорова нет в сборной не только из-за травм" - Спорт-Экспресс. 

7 августа. Dual reasons keep Kozlov in town - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

28 ноября. Вячеслав Козлов: За свои слова отвечаю - Советский Спорт

15 января. Goals aren't only measure of Kozlov //Free Press


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года 
Данные подготовлены Дмитрием Поповым.
E-mail: southstars@yahoo.com