Grabovski’s player ID from the Belarusian Football Federation. (Photo: Pressball.by)
Early Monday, the television channel Belarus-1 reported news that I’m not sure any of us were expecting. Unrestricted free agent Mikhail Grabovski has signed a new deal, but it’s not with a hockey team. It’s with the Krumkachy Minsk (Minsk Ravens), a soccer club in Belarus’ Second League.
Ravens chairman Denis Shunto announced the news on TV, saying that Grabovski will suit up for the team in late July. For those of you beginning to worry, we have been assured that while Grabo will indeed play for the Ravens, it’s intended more as a summer workout for next year’s hockey season than a change in career.
Grabovski would have already suited up for the Ravens if not for the injury he suffered at the World Championships a few weeks ago, which kept him out of the final games against Russia and Sweden. Shunto said that Grabovski “has a real desire” to play for his club.
Despite their amateur status, the Ravens currently lead Group B (Western) of Belarus’ third and lowest tier of professional soccer, the Second League. This is Krumkachy’s first season in the professional ranks. The club was founded by members of the message board on Pressball.by, Belarus’ biggest sports site.
Additional reporting by Fedor Fedin.