Greetings from Chelyabinsk, Russia! I was joining a longtime friend and hockey great, Sergi Makarov, for a special event back in his hometown here in Chelyabinsk. Despite being over a million people, we couldn’t walk ten feet without someone stopping Sergi and asking for an autograph or simply to say hi. Sergi seemed to enjoy every minute of it.
Being a hockey nut, I had known of Sergi when he played for the Moscow team. He was the ‘M’ in the legendary KLM line that scored so many goals and won so many championships. You know you are important when they have to change the rules of a game for you. He came to the NHL in his early 30s and won the Rookie of the year trophy his first year. The next year, the NHL put in the ‘Makarov Rule’ which puts a maximum age on being considered a ‘rookie.’
Sergi and I met when he was playing for the San Jose Sharks a few years later. The Sharks owner, Howard Baldwin and I were childhood friends, so I asked him to set up a dinner with Sergi. We stayed friends ever since.
Sergi heads back to Russia frequently to help hockey players transition to the NHL. He heard of his hometown doing this neat stunt for Google Earth and called to see if I wanted to join him. After hearing the details, I changed my plans and joined him in Chelyabinsk for this great event!
Google Earth is a great tool that allows you to zoom in anywhere in the world with 3-d views and more. Google uses images captured from the ‘Quickbird’ Satellite. Chelyabinsk residents decided to put on a show for the Satellite as it passed over head. The towns people gathered in the center of town and created a oversized Smileyface, using raincoats and other items to create something special! Sergi and I got to be the left eye, if you are able to zoom that close!
I’ve been asked by companies in the past on how to take advantage of these super accurate maps available online through Google, Microsoft and others. Target is now placing their signature Red and White Target on the tops of their buildings as a form of guerilla advertising through these mapping sites. Brilliant!