Sitting in one of his trademark robes in a university campus dorm at the other side of the world, Mike Commodore still has his sense of humour.



As part of a pro hockey journey that has seen him play for seven NHL and seven AHL teams the last 13 years, the 34-year-old defenceman has finally outdone himself by landing in a city even he had never even heard of before.

“If someone in Calgary is looking for a KHL team to cheer for, I think Vladivostok is closer to Calgary than it is to Moscow,” the former Flames defenceman said with a chuckle.

“Dude, I am in Russia but I am really in Asia. I’m 100 km from North Korea. I’m on the east side of China — Tokyo is a nice easy flight. I’m on the North Pacific Ocean, so if I went for a 10-minute jog I’d end up in the Pacific Ocean.”

Dubbed Russia’s San Francisco, the latest entry in Russia’s 28-team Kontinental Hockey League is now home to a (formerly) bushy-haired redhead who became a cult hero in Calgary during the Flames 2004 playoff run.

They joke about sending people away to the nether regions of Siberia but Commodore easily puts in perspective just how remote a place Vladivostok is.

“Every road trip starts with a nine-hour flight to Moscow across seven time-zones,” said the man known, ironically, as Commie22 on Twitter.

“The worst part is the flight back. You’re with the wind so it’s eight hours but you lose seven hours. Your body is so screwed. We aren’t flying first-class, either. It’s commercial from here to Moscow. I’m racking up the frequent-flier miles. I will be platinum with Aeroflot in a month.”

A commercial fishing, shipping and naval town of 500,000 that was the property of China before 1860, Vladivostok is not exactly where Commodore pictured his career winding down. Surrounded by chronic smokers in an outpost where very few speak any English at all, the personable, outgoing Commodore finds himself on an island of sorts.