Making Them Proud: Aliaksei Protas Shines Against Edmonton Oilers With Billet Family in Attendance

Screen cap: NBC Sports Washington

While the Washington Capitals breaking a two-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night was a major headline for the club, for Center Aliaksei Protas, who assisted on the tie-breaking goal, a strong performance came with extra meaning, as his billet family from his Junior career were in attendance.

Protas, who made the Capitals’ Opening Night roster after an impressive training camp at the age of 21-years old, has shown tremendous signs of growth and maturity in his first true taste of a full NHL season (he played in 33 games last season), and he has recorded five points (3G, 2A) in 27 Games Played this season, with an even plus/minus rating, and averaging 11:11 of ice time for Head Coach Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff.

A third-round pick of the club in 2019, Protas has developed into a reliable forward, who can and has been at various places in the lineup at stages this season, and has been able to perform seamlessly when tasked with each.

Overall, Protas, who finished the night against the Oilers with one assist (a beauty of a helper on Nic Dowd’s goal that put Washington in the lead), a plus-1 rating in 14:05 of ice time, has performed as well as one could have expected him to in a season that has seen the Caps lose some key players to injuries and required him to step up, which he has done admirably. After the game, he was awarded the team’s victory fire rope for his effort.

Sitting among the thousands in Rogers Place on Monday night was the Pagé Family. Just as his performance had impressed his team, Protas’ showing was just as meaningful. The Pagé Family served as Aliaksei’s billet family during his time with the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders; a billet family provides housing and guidance to players from outside the city (or country in his case) a he fit into the Pagé household extremely well. When he relayed the news that he would be on the Capitals’ Opening Night roster, their reaction was as genuine as they come.

“It’s always a great day when we get to see Alexei, never mind parts of 3 in a row!!”, Roger tells NoVa Caps, “There are so many highlights of these past 3 days, during the Caps’ [Alberta]. road trip, too numerous to count really. One that will stay with me forever though, happened while we were eating supper Sunday evening,” said Roger.

“Alex called to attention the table and gave a toast to the importance of family. It really hit home how our lives will forever be intertwined with number 59. I know I speak for my crew when I say, having this guy in our lives has enriched us in ways too immeasurable to count. I’d like to think our Capitals are truly lucky to have added such a humble, dedicated, hard working guy to the team. Go Caps!!”

Although being just 21-years old, the fact he has stepped up when asked should come as no surprise. Roger, Aliaksei’s billet dad who dubbed Protas the “Viper from Vitebsk” (his hometown in Belarus), described the 6’6″ pivot’s work ethic in a previous interview with NoVa Caps in 2020.

“He’s always eager to lend a hand, regardless of the task…One week last winter, we’d had a large accumulation of snowfall. I knew he had a day off from the rink and, so before heading to work, I asked him if he could shovel the sidewalk in-front of the yard and immediately alongside the driveway, said Roger. “

”A few hours later, I received a text from our good neighbors across the street, Jana and Roger, with an image attached. Not only was our front sidewalk and walkway done, but the entire concrete driveway AND the gravel driveway beside the house! It must have taken him two hours to do that. He’s always trying to do his best, that’s AP!”

There is no doubt that there will be many more memorable moments for Protas and the Pagé Family and if his performance against Edmonton is any indication, the future is bright indeed.

By Michael Fleetwood

More Reading:
Aliaksei Protas’ Billet Dad, Who Created The ‘Viper’ Nickname, Is Happy To See New Protas Bobblehead
How Aliaksei Protas Capitalized On A Rare Opportunity During The Covid Pandemic
“I Need To Prove What I Can Do On the Ice, Off the Ice”: Aliaksei Protas Talks His Strong Training Camp, Potential of Making Final Roster

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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9 Responses to Making Them Proud: Aliaksei Protas Shines Against Edmonton Oilers With Billet Family in Attendance

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great to see him doing well. Hope to see Becks back soon. I look at AA, CMM, HL, IM and SUZ and am comfortable with things.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Give the Page family tickets to every game please.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Junior hockey simply wouldn’t work without these great people. Well done, Page family!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Truth. Having had the pleasure of covering Protas since his draft day, and getting to know his billet family a little bit, the billet family concept is one of the best things to come out of the game of hockey, in my opinion. Great kid, great family.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a great program.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great story.

  6. novafyre says:

    Bally Sports Sun is starting a new series after postgame called Bolts Beginning. A crew traveled with a Bolts member this past summer as the player went back home to where their career started. They followed Nick Paul back to the town of his youth. Some humor but really respectful, reflective. All the people miked up — no reporter hogging the camera or mic. Learned a lot about him but also about kids living a hockey life. Wish NBCSW would give us that insight into Caps. Protas and Page family would be a great start.

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