WOODBRIDGE, VA -- Feliks Morozov no longer plays for the Potomac Patriots. But he certainly left an impression on Patriots coach Zachary Vit last season in his brief time in the Premier Division of the United States Premier Hockey League.
"Feliks played the first half of the season for us last year and led us in scoring," Vit said. "He was a standout. Dominant at our level. Feliks has incredible offensive skills, is a hard worker, and has a thirst to improve."
Morozov played 23 games for the Patriots last season. He had 21 goals and nine assists for 30 points in those 23 games.
His skills and those impressive offensive numbers earned Morozov a promotion to the Syracuse Jr. Stars, the Patriots' affiliate in the National Collegiate Development Conference.
But he lasted just four games before a leg injury ended his season.
Morovov is back on the ice this season. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger is playing for the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He had one goal through four games. Last season was a good one for Morozov even though it came to an end so soon.
"Playing for the Patriots helped me a lot," he said in an email interview. "Coach Vit is a really good coach. He worked with me and helped me improve my game."
A 2000-born player, Morozov is from Kharkiv, Ukraine, the second-largest city in the country. It's a historic city, established in 1654.
Morozov describes his hometown as a "nice, beautiful city" of around 1.5 million people including many students because there are several universities there. The city also is home to 80 libraries, seven theaters and six museums.
Kharkiv is where Morozov began playing hockey as a 6-year-old first-grader. Morozov recalls a hockey coach coming to his school and watching kids kick around a soccer ball.
"He watched how we played. Afterwards, he asked me if I'd like to come to the ice arena and try to skate and learn how to play hockey," Morozov said.
It's no surprise that soccer was used to find youngsters who might be interested in playing hockey. Soccer is the most popular sport in Ukraine.
Hockey isn't a popular sport in Kharkiv and Ukraine overall, Morozov said, and the level of play there is poor.
That's a big reason why he came to North America to play hockey five years ago, to pursue his goal of achieving "the highest level of the game I love."
He played for the Philadelphia Revolution U14 and U16 AAA teams before joining the Patriots.
Morozov lists his strengths on the ice as his physical game, hockey sense and talent. He feels he needs to work on his endurance and passion.