[Aliaksei Protas and billet family with the Ed Chynoweth Cup (WHL Championship) following the overtime, game 7 win at the Art Hauser Center in Prince Albert. Photos:Roger Pagé]
If you’ve followed NoVa Caps over the years than you know we expend great effort in our coverage of Capitals prospects. Included in our comprehensive coverage of each and every prospect, starting from their draft day and going forward, are articles on their personal lives, including life in junior hockey.
You may recall our interview with Aliaksei Protas’ billet family in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, back in 2020 (here), which shed light on the Belarusian’s life in a new country and new life as a member of a hockey billet family.
As we mentioned in the billet family profile, Protas was not just a member of the Prince Albert Raiders, he was a member of the Pagé household as their billet son starting in 2018. And, in my opinion, he remains very much their son to this day.
Once Protas found out he made the Capitals opening night roster, he called his billet family back in Saskatchewan to tell them the news.
“I cried,” said billet mom Kim Pagé to paNow. “He Facetimed us that night to let us know. He was incredibly happy, smiling, laughing. Just tears of joy. We celebrated through Facetime.”
It truly takes a village, as the saying goes, and Protas would be the first one to tell you that. The Page’ family were a very important part of Protas’ “village” and overall personal development along the way.
Kim and her husband Roger, along with their daughters Brooklyn and Cailin, helped him adapt to life in a new country, which began with work on his English when he first arrived in Prince Albert.
“At first, I was a little nervous,” Pagé told paNow. “He could speak English, but it was broken. But he knew he wanted to be fluent in English, he had a goal. He read books, he watched movies, he had conversations, he never sat by himself. He had a goal and a dream of what he wanted to achieve. Just watching the progress has been amazing.”
The Page family is very proud of Protas and what he has achieved so far, and they should be.
“I’m so proud of him,” Pagé said. “He has worked so hard for this. I had no doubt he was going to do it, it was just a matter of time. So now that it’s official, it’s incredible.”
Protas has also shared with his billet family his early impressions of life as a Washington Capital.
“He was blown away,” said Pagé. “He’s talked so much about looking up to Ovi when he was younger, and so many positive things about he and Kuznetsov. When he Facetimed us, he said he was already playing on the second line. Every time he calls or Facetimes, he’s so thankful. He doesn’t take any of it for granted.”
Last season, when Protas and the Capitals were in Winnipeg, the Pagé family hit the road to meet him. Cailin had been told a different story about why they were headed to Manitoba. That was Protas’s idea.
“Part of it was to surprise my youngest daughter,” Pagé said. “He’s very close with both of my kids, but he wanted to make sure we surprised the younger one, so she had no idea we were going. So we got to see him, spend quite a bit of time with him.”
Pagé added they’re already making plans to see him again when the Capitals travel to Canada.
A huge thanks to paNow for continuing to tell the Protas story, and for telling Protas’ story all along the way.
By Jon Sorensen
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