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RoughRiders' Provorov Impresses Thousands of Miles From Home

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CEDAR RAPIDS You don't have to watch Ivan Provorov long to realize the size of his hockey potential. Let's say that size is rather large, perhaps even eventual first-round NHL draft-pick large.

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman has solid size at 6-feet and 190 pounds, can skate, shoot and pass. He has the versatility to play either point on the power play.

He can even fight, something you should ask Joe Schuldt of Sioux Falls about. The two had quite the scrap last weekend at the USHL Atlantic Challenge in New Jersey, with Provorov more than holding his own despite being four years younger than his 20-year-old opponent.

"Real good players are poised beyond their years sometimes. That's what he's shown so far," said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. "Great character guy, first of all. Great guy. He is so poised, has such great hockey sense. He understands the game. It's been great to have him here so far."

It was great just to get him here. Carlson had to put on the hard sell to convince the 16-year-old Russian that Cedar Rapids was the best place to be at this stage of his promising career.

Provorov and his father, Vladimir, visited the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena last March. The RoughRiders went so far as to find a Russian translator in order to clearly answer any question Vladimir Provorov had about sending his son to Iowa.

The RoughRiders ended up spending a USHL tender on Ivan, similar to what they did last year with highly touted young goaltender Chris Birdsall. Provorov is the first Russian player for the Riders since defenseman Sergei Kolosov (2005-2007).

"It's so fun. I love it here," Provorov said. "Coach just said this season we're going to have a good team. He said work hard, and we'll get you better everyday. We were impressed, so I wanted to come here and play."

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