30 Under 30: Carter Popoff
High school: Matthew McNair
Carter Popoff’s rookie season in the ‘dub has been one of ups and downs.
While he’d love for his team, the Vancouver Giants, to be in a playoff position instead of last in the Western Conference and at bottom of Western Hockey League overall with 34 points, he has personally put together a strong first year. In 54 games, he’s scored 11 goals and added eight assists and emerged as a go-to centre who is reliable at both ends of the ice.
Popoff didn’t have to look far for inspiration. His dad was a hard-working hockey player who taught his boys the importance of a strong work ethic. Carter says no one demonstrates that more than his brother Turner, a defensive defenceman with the B.C. Hockey League’s Langley Rivermen, who at 18 is a year older than Carter. The pair briefly played together with the Richmond Sockeyes during the 2011-12 season before Turner moved up to play with the BCHL Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Carter, meanwhile, completed the season with the Sockeyes and was named the Pacific International Junior Hockey League rookie of the year.
“I’ve never seen a person work so hard in order to make himself better,” Carter says of Turner. “(Now), I’ve made it a goal of mine to work as hard as him on and off the ice.”
Inspiration? “NHL hockey players have always inspired me to pursue my goal of becoming a pro hockey player. Their dedication and passion for the game is something to strive for. Also, my parents put forth so much time and effort into accommodating my every desire, which has added great inspiration to me.”
Most proud of? “Making the Vancouver Giants this year. Growing up, I would always go and watch them play and think how unbelievable it would be to play for a team I grew to love.”
Advice? “For all young hockey players it sounds cheesy but it’s true: do your best and love the game. Everything is easier if you do that. Also, put in the time to become a better player, on and off the ice. And always remember the game doesn’t control you, you control the game.”