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Anna Galchenyuk anticipates watching brother at WJC

by Mike G. Morreale

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- How special would it be to don the red, white and blue as a member of the U.S. National Junior Team in Ufa, Russia, at the 2013 World Junior Championship for Alex Galchenyuk?

Just ask his older sister, Anna. The 25-year-old was all smiles Tuesday on the final day of U.S. selection camp at the New York Rangers' training facility as she watched her ultra-talented brother take line rushes on the power play.

"I'm very proud of him," Anna Galchenyuk told "A lot of people say he was lucky, but there's no luck. There's so much hard work that he put into this, his entire life. We're very proud watching him and the accomplishments that are coming right now. It makes me so much happier."

Anna, who works at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., joined her brother Monday for dinner and was at Tuesday's practice.

"We're really excited for him right now … our whole family is," she said. "He's looking so much to representing the United States. He was born here and even when we were flying back and forth to Moscow [Russia], he's always enjoyed returning back to the States."

After Tuesday's practice, Alex posed for some pictures with his sister and conversed with her in Russian for 10 minutes before departing the rink for the airport.

"It means a lot to have her here," Alex Galchenyuk said. "I miss her and she's always around when stuff like this happens. Since I was small, she always came to the showcases and international events, so it's definitely nice to have her around."

Anna was also there when Alex was drafted third by the Canadiens at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh in June.

"The whole family was there during the draft," she said. "It was probably the best experience of my life so far. I've never been to anything that exciting, and we were all proud and happy. To think, Montreal …. hockey is their religion. And to go third overall after everything that happened last year [with his injury]."

Galchenyuk is tied for the lead in the Ontario Hockey League with 27 goals. He also has 34 assists in 33 games for the Sarnia Sting this season.

Anna said that despite the fact she is older, she is the one to usually contact Alex for advice.

"I'll give my advice, but he always supports me so much that a lot of the time I feel like he's the older one," she said. "The advice he gives me … I sometimes step back and I'm like, 'Wow.' Any important decision, I'll always go to him. He's the closest person I turn to. He'll be straightforward with you, and I really appreciate that in him."

When asked for her tournament prediction, Anna smiled and said, "Gonna win the gold."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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