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MICHAEL LEON KONDRACKI


Dentist, Doctor of Dental Surgery, D.D.S.

Date and Place of Birth: 1939 in Toronto, Canada


Date of Interview: December 20, 2016

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: 00:51:23 (raw)



(Excerpt):


MK: Well, we played hockey in sports, and football, right through high school and at University of Toronto. Got involved with that. You take it to a certain level – being a dentist, you’re always worried about your hands, something happening, things like that, but we still played. I got involved at sports because I loved the game, to follow it. And later on I ended up, I was a dentist, I got into sports dentistry to help some of these guys that are professionals, to protect their teeth and I ended up, luckily through a good friend, a contact, I ended up with Team Canada, the first Canadian team that won in 1972 to play the Russians. So I was in Moscow for the 4 games, that was THE game [the Summit Series] So, that’s a good memory.

Then after that, I ended up being a dentist for Team Canada, I think for 15 or 16 years, in World Championships and with Canada Cups in North America. So, you ended up going, you got to know cities well, because you would go for 2-3 weeks, so you got to know Tampa Bay, Stockholm, Vienna, Praha, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Malmö, Oslo, different things. You end up, 1 or 2 exhibition games and you go there literally for 2 or 3 weeks. I was fortunate enough, my wife Kvitka said well, you have a good opportunity, go. You got to know cities really well. I took an interest in it and then you got to know it, and then with the other doctors, you had to be at practices and at the games obviously and that, and in between you’d have a half day off or a day off and you just walked the streets, and got to know it.

I was always interested in art, so I ended up going to antique shops, antiquarian shops, looking for antique maps of the Ukraine and artwork. I was always interested in art, so I remember in St. Petersburg, Feodosiy Humeniuk which was an artist we had heard about, and looked him up and we met him a couple of nights and spent some time with him, and things like that. And it was interesting, I was trying to get some art out and literally, a lot of the times when we were away for the World Championships, our [Ukrainian] Easter would come up at that time. And I’d met also at that time Makarenko [Volodymyr], another artist, but he was in Riga at the time, he had gotten out somehow and he had gone to Paris, he had an exhibit there. So, Feodosiy Humeniuk, we met in an apartment and we’re looking at different art, things like that, and I said, can I get some stuff out for you, I’ll have an exhibit, I know people would be interested in it. Also there’s a knock on the door, and we were scared, you didn’t know what was happening then. Door open and of all people it was Makarenko who happened to be there. He came in, well ‘то великдень’ - it’s Easter, so we had some Easter eggs, they weren’t like pysanky, but we smashed some eggs, a couple of shots of vodka, and Makarenko says, ‘Feodosiy, I had an opportunity to smuggle some art out, you gotta take it.’ So we ended up, after about an hour of talking and imbibing, taking them out of the frames, and I got 11 oils, rolled up and smuggled them back to the hotel. To this day, I don’t know if someone followed me, or what, but they came in, they were looking. But we moved the art around and into the dressing room. Put hockey sticks inbetween here, rolled it and put some goalie pads on both sides of it, and it came out in the hockey bag. Got it back to Canada, about a year later had them framed and had a big exhibit for him, and it was a very successful exhibit for Feodosiy Humeniuk and years later, met him back in Lviv, which he had gone back, met him and his wife, kept in touch, but met them and passed on the results of that showing for him.

Interviewer: Hmm, amazing story.

MK: Yep!



CROSS REFERENCES:


Kondracki, Michael L., “SickKids and Children of Chernobyl Canadian Fund (CCCF) Establish Ukraine Child Health Fellowship Program, Ukrainian Canadian Congress website, 14 November 2012


  1. Wife: Kvitka Kondracki, File #388, Oral History of Ukrainian Canada (OHUC) interview, video clip 


Daughter: Larysa Kondracki, DP/30: The Oral History of Hollywood interview, Youtube, 8 August 2011 


Daughter: Rayisa Kondracki, interviewed by A.R. Wilson. “Toronto actress Rayisa Kondracki casts a spell on ‘Wynonna Earp’, Digital Journal, 13 May 2016 

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org

excerpt from the Interview with MICHAEL LEON KONDRACKI
ORAL HISTORY OF UKRAINIAN CANADA