Courtesy of the Calgary Flames
By Ryan Holmer (@RyanHolmerNHL)
Akim Aliu has taken an unusual and difficult path in his hockey career. He has faced difficulties, and several times he almost counted himself out of the game. But through hard work and determination, Aliu was called up to the Calgary Flames last season, and made an immediate impact.
Akim Aliu was born in Okene, Nigeria in 1989, but lived in Ukraine for most of his young childhood. He lived in Ukraine until the age of seven before moving to Canada with his family.
His first pair of skates was bought at a garage sale at the age of nine. He began his playing career in Toronto, playing for a house-league team in Parkdale. For the first couple of years, the language barrier was an issue. He eventually became fluent at English. He had a natural talent for hockey. A few years later, he was drafted by the Windsor Spitfires in the 1st round of the OHL Draft.
During the 2005-’06 season, Aliu was involved in a dust-up with Steve...