Category: Interviews (Page 1 of 6)

Q & A with Alisher Azimov head trainer of HK Binokor Tashkent

HK Binokor Tashkent youth team.

By George Da Silva – National teams of Ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of once again talking to Alisher Azimov chief trainer of HK Binokor Tashkent and one of only a few people in Uzbekistan to have made a living playing hockey. It is thanks to Azimov that the sport has received another lease on life.

The last time we talked was in 2016, a lot has changed in Uzbekistan. Can you tell us about how the Binokor ice hockey club has grown over the last 5 years?
Yes you are right a lot has changed since 2016, and the process is still going on. Having new Ice Rinks was a big step forward in developing the ice hockey sport in Uzbekistan. 
The Main Ice rink named “Humo” is the biggest one we have in the country, it was built with all the international standards and able to host all types of events. 
With the new Ice rinks we were able to accept many more young kids for training, after Binokor we had opened three new official clubs (HUMO, SEMURG, TASHKENT)
Binokor itself has grown, we have attended many tournaments and achieved many good results.

Alisher Azimov.

Binokor youth team played in Kyrgyzstan in early June against their U20 team, how did Binokor do and what is your relationship with Kyrgyzstan?
The Kyrgyzstan ice hockey federation and us have a good relationship so far, they always invite our clubs to their tournaments, as host they always provide good hospitality and support. I would like to say big thanks to their management for what they do.
About the tournament we had good results, overall it was a good experience for our team, we learned many things, team members and players enjoyed the overall atmosphere.

Binokor Youth team in Kyrgyzstan.

In 2013 a Uzbekistan Hockey League was established but since that time no championship has been played. Are there any future plans to start a league in the country?
Yes we have a plan in the near future to start our own league with clubs I have mentioned above, by that time there is a hope we might add more clubs to this league from different regions of the country.
Humo Hockey Club played in the VHL in the 2019-20 season but the playoffs were canceled due to the pandemic. This year Humo is going to play in the Kazakhstan Championship, why the sudden change in leagues?
Yes, as far as I know this year Humo HC will play in Kazakhstan’s ice hockey championship and I think it is a good thing for overall improvement of this sport in Uzbekistan
How many ice rinks have been built in Uzbekistan since 2016 and what is the total number of ice rinks in the country?
Currently we have three ice rinks arenas in Tashkent, one of these is seasonal and operates only in winter season, we have another new one in Samarkand city it is also a good addition to our sport, we hope to see some new clubs with new players coming from that region. Another one and latest one in the Andijan region, we also hope to see new clubs coming from that region too. 
Another very good news is, our old ice rink in Tashkent which was closed off back in 1988, is now reconverting back to ice rink again after the president’s direct initiative, this also shows the support of the government in improving this sport

Humo Arena.

The first ice arena in Samarkand City.

With Uzbekistan building a foundation with youth hockey, when will we see a Under18 or Under 20 national team play in IIHF competition?

Currently we have a team named Tashkent Select in which the players from all above mentioned clubs were invited, there are two groups #1  consisting of 2006-2007 years and the 2nd one with 2008-2009 years, attending in two groups.
I really hope we can create a good team from these guys for U18 and U20 IIHF competitions in the coming years.
How long do you think it will be before we see the Uzbekistan national team play in a IIHF competition?
If everything goes well I hope in the next 3-4 years we will have a solid own national team which can start competing in IIHF competitions.
Your son was in invited to the Next Generation Hockey School in the United States. How was the experience at the school?
This year my son Salahiddin Azimov, was invited by one of the leading hockey schools in the USA named NEXT GENERATION HOCKEY located in the state of Arizona. The invitation came directly from the director of the school and one of the leading coaches in the US Boris Dorozhenko, Mr. Dorozhenko is Ukrainian born with many years of experiences in coaching and providing many good international players with training in his career.  After seeing Salahiddin’s games in the Kyrgyzstan tournament he himself invited us to his summer camp, and we were able to visit the USA and attend the camp. 
I have to say it was a very productive experience for my son and myself, these experiences which we have seen we can implement in our clubs to improve their games and training.
During my visit in the US we have achieved an agreement between our club Binokor HC and Boris Dorojenko’s training school to have winter camp training together in the USA this year in December. We have already started the process of arranging paperwork for visiting Arizona with our team, and I think it will be a big step forward for our own club Binokor HC and to overall ice hockey in Uzbekistan. I believe the experience they will get to see in this camp will give a big boost to our team players and members.

Letter from next generation hockey school.

Hockey Camp Poster.

Boris Dorojenko and Salahiddin Azimov

Salahiddin Azimov at Hockey camp in Phoenix, Arizona.

Q & A with Jaz Miley

Jazmine Miley Captain of Puerto Rico women’s national team, holds Latam cup Trophy

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of speaking with Jazmine Miley captain of the Puerto Rico women’s national team and HPOC Movement Founder& CEO Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association Director.

What was your introduction into hockey and how did it all start?

I started hockey at a very late age. I had just moved from Queens NY to Long island NY. Being new to the neighborhood as a teenager it’s important to try to find kids my age. My next door neighbor who also recently  moved in invited my mother and I to their house warming party. It was there that I one of the nieces who invited me to one of her hockey games and I fell in love at first sight. 

Not only are you a player for the Puerto Rico women’s national team but you are also the HPOC Movement Founder & CEO Purto Rico Ice Hockey Association. How did this come about?

I started HPOC Movement in 2020 right before Covid and after speaking to the current Director Sydney Kinder about our time playing college hockey. Despite playing for two different programs we had such a similar experience. I wanted to make a community where all players of color are welcomed and have a place where they feel safe. It was imperative to have a program for our younger players like a big sister/brother that can mentor them and even help parents that are new to the hockey world. Coming from a one parent household that paid for everything  hockey related, everyone knows that hockey is expensive and not everyone has that privilege to afford gear, travel hockey, summer camps, etc., I feel blessed.  I was very fortunate that Scott Vargas  included me in the making of the Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association as the hockey Director. Being able to make history on the island is such an amazing privilege. 

At the 2021 Latam Cup Puerto Rico was represented by the Men and for the first time the Women’s team. What was the selection process in picking both teams?

We advertised on hockey platforms and social media sites.  We based our selections  on players experience whether they play A, AA or AAA. Even now post-Amerigol Latam Cup we have many players reaching out to us with and without experience. So many people want to be a part of the team.

Puerto Rico women made spectacular debut by winning the 2021 Latam Cup which you were a part of. What was the feeling like after winning the championship and what will this do for women’s hockey in the territory?

Winning the 2021 Amerigol Latam cup tournament was such a surreal moment, especially since it was our first time playing as a team. I personally played with one other player a few years back. But besides that we were all very new to playing with each other but we clicked so well. I am excited for our future ventures as a team and being able to practice and mesh more. 

Puerto Rico women win their first Trophy in there first ever tournament

When will Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum be open For ice skating and hockey?

Unfortunately there is no definitive date yet, but we plan on putting the date out on our social media platforms as soon as its available.

There is Rumors that first game at the coliseum will be against Dominican Republic?

That is a false rumor. We have not thought about who we will play once the stadium is finished.

Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum

Will the Puerto Rico Ice Hockey Association set up a leagues and programs for youth hockey?

 We are definitely looking to grow Puerto Rico Hockey by including our youth players.

 Outside of the Latam Cup will Puerto Rico play in any other tournaments or exhibition games in 2022?

We have established the Spring Primavera which will ultimately be an invitational tournament for the Men, Women and youth.. But we also plan to make appearances at other tournaments. 

Does Puerto Rico have future plans to join International Ice Hockey Federation?

We would like to join the IIHF, we are currently reviewing the rules, regulations and qualifiers needed to join the IIHF.

Do you think the game can grow in the Caribbean and how will Puerto Rico lead the way?

I think ice hockey can grow in the Caribbean, our only set back is affordable access to ice and a building that meets IIHF’s requirements. Puerto Rico can only lead by example. The most important first step is for countries to be able to afford an expensive building that most likely will have to be built from the ground up, putting in ice and being able to run it consistently.

You can also check out this Article from 2019 on Jazmine Miley:
Miley launches coaching career with Junior Hurricanes

Q & A with Israel Elite Ice Hockey League Founders

Meet Mark who is partner of Tal and they started the Israel Elite Hockey League.

By George Da Silva – National Teams of ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of speaking with Tal and his partner Mark founders of the Israel Elite Hockey League.

Nobody would have ever dream of starting a league during a pandemic but Tal and Mark had a dream and with great effort and determination they were able to start a ice hockey in Israel.

How did this adventure in starting up a league start for you?

For many years players in Israel have dreamed of having a league where all the best Israeli players can compete against one another, adding import players to the mix would help increase the level of play for Israeli players and give them a chance to compete against players they might not have otherwise.

We decided to take those things and create an opportunity for both Israeli and import players to get value out of not just playing hockey in Israel but experiencing the country and everything it has to offer.

Was this league started to raise the level of play in Israel and the Israeli hockey player or are there
alternative motives?

This league was started to grow the sport of hockey in Israel. When we first started this league,

We envisioned it opening up the eyes of Israeli citizens to a sport that many of them don’t know about. Not only do we want to grow the sport of hockey in Israel, we also want to expose the rest of the world to Israeli hockey along with the Israeli people and their culture. This league was started as a culmination of both objectives, and we are exceeding expectations already.

What difficulties did you have in starting up a league during a pandemic?

The league was on its way to be even bigger during our inaugural season before the pandemic hit. We had plenty of import players waiting to come and play in our league, but because of the pandemic, we could only get so many entry permits for players and most were unable to come, so we were able to bring over 12 imports. It forced us to be a much smaller league than we would have liked, but we were still able to have a fun and competitive season with a smaller group of players.

This is part of the reason why we are even more excited for this upcoming season, as we are able to import many more players from all over the world to come play in the IEHL and experience Israel like never before.


Where does the financial backing come from?

Currently the IEHL is a tuition based league & experience, each player pays a fee to come to Israel, travel around the country, live in Tel Aviv etc the hockey is a part of the entire experience. As the IEHL grows it’s sponsorship partners it will help continue to subsidize the cost for players to come and add more value for each player’s experience.

Is there a limit on how many foreign players can play on each team?

There is no limit to how many foreign players can play on each team, but we would like to have as diverse teams as possible, meaning we want to combine both our import players and Israeli players so everyone has a chance to compete together.

You just completed the first year of the league. What things would you like to improve on going into
the second season?

Well first and foremost, we would like the league to be bigger than last year, and we are already on track to reach that goal with adding 2 new teams for the new season. Another big improvement for this season is we will move to 5v5 and play on an Olympic sheet of ice. We hope to continue adding sponsors to our partnership list and grow the IEHL.

HC Tel Aviv Champions of IEHL.

You mentioned this year will be 5 on 5 hockey and played on an Olympic ice surface. Does
this mean all league games will be played in One ice Arena?

While there are only so many options for first class hockey facilities here in Israel,

We are currently in very close talks with one ice Arena to host the IEHL this summer.

The other option would be hosting the IEHL in Jerusalem, at Pias Arena.

Will we see any Israelis from the league play on the national team in the future?

Yes, there are several local Israel players that play on the national teams here in Israel.

We have players playing on both the U20 and Senior national teams.

This coming season almost all the national team players living in Israel will be playing in the IEHL.

Are there any plans for club teams to compete in IIHF club tournaments?

As the IEHL is a private league not affiliated with the IIHF currently, I don’t think we would have the chance to enter a team into any club tournaments. It is something that could be possible in the future with some sort of affiliation with the IIHF.

Exciting game action Between HC Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Capitals

How can fans watch and follow the league?

Every single one of our games will be streamed live on our YouTube channel,

The Israel National Hockey Society. Fans can always check up on our stats and standings on our website,, we are also in talks to have our games broadcasted locally.

Fans can also follow our social media accounts: @theiehl on Instagram, @IsraelHockey on Twitter, and the Israel National Hockey Society on Facebook.

HC Tel Aviv vs Holon Vipers

Андраш Михалик: «Цель — сохранить прописку»

После первого тура МЧМ Div IA нападающий сборной Венгрии Андраш Михалик подвел итоги матча против сборной Казахстана (1:3) и рассказал о том, каких ошибок стоит избегать в игре сборной

— Андраш, какие эмоции вы испытывали перед первой игрой на турнире? Как вам в целом матч? Оцените первую игру своей команды и оцените игру команды соперника

— Это была мой дебют на МЧМ. Вначале я был очень взволнован, для меня это большой успех, ведь я попал в окончательный ростер и получил шанс представлять свою страну. Игра против Казахстана была очень быстрой, у соперников было много опытных игроков, поэтому мы должны были приложить все усилия, чтобы не отставать от них. Казахстан — отличная команда, они быстро перемещали шайбу, поэтому мы старались играть попроще. Думаю, сработало очень хорошо. В целом я чувствовал, что мы проделали отличную работу как команда, мы оставались в игре все 60 минут. После матча извлекли уроки и продолжим совершенствоваться.

Кроме того, самое большое положительное впечатление на данный момент заключается в том, что мы, игроки, окружены очень профессиональной средой, с которой мы раньше не сталкивались, поэтому нам нужно сосредоточиться только на хоккее и играх. Мы играли хорошо, но на таком уровне каждая ошибка имеет значение. В следующих играх нам придется свести ошибки минимуму и использовать те немногие шансы, которые мы получаем.

— Какой соперник, на ваш взгляд, будет самым сложным?

— Мы попытались посмотреть на все команды. Мне кажется, что Беларусь и Латвия — сильнейшие команды, судя по их составам. Однако на этом турнире мы и все наши соперники должны сыграть пять игр за семь дней, а это значит, что команды покажут свои хорошие и также плохие стороны.

— Какие цели и задачи стоят перед командой на стартовавший турнир? Насколько команда готова к предстоящим играм ?

— Наша главная цель – остаться в группе А. Сборная Венгрии U20 никогда не выигрывала ни одной игры в этом дивизионе, поэтому мы хотели бы быть первой командой, достигшей этого рубежа. Перед турниром мы cчитаемся аутсайдерами, но мы хотим доказать, что можем конкурировать с любой командой в этом дивизионе, а также выигрывать матчи.

— От чего в сегодняшнем матче у двоих команд было немалое количество удалений?

— Да, я согласен, что в этой игре у обеих команд было большое количество необязательных удалений. Я думаю, это связано с тем, рефери здесь намного строже, чем в чемпионате Венгрии. В оставшейся части турнира мы должны помнить об этом и играть без подобных ошибок.

— Есть ли у тебя какие-нибудь ритуалы перед матчами? Как вообще настраиваешься на игру?

— В отличие от большинства игроков, у меня действительно нет никаких персональных ритуалов перед играми. Хоть и мне нравится каждый раз делать одну и ту же разминку и заматывать клюшку одним и тем же способом, в остальном я не придерживаюсь каких-либо ритуальных действий.

— Пару слов болельщикам на трибунах

— Независимо от того, выиграем мы или проиграем, или что говорит табло, мы всегда будем выкладываться на льду. Мы хотим показать болельщикам, которые приехали сюда, и тем, кто следит за нами из дома, что мы можем дать бой нашим соперникам и достичь нашей цели — остаться в этом дивизионе.

Автор материала: Алсу Фаткуллина

Вопросы и ответы с Юрием Грошевым

By Альфред Муталлпов – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Юрий, по традиции расскажите, как оказались в хоккее?

В принципе все стандартно. Отец часто смотрел, как играет Салават. Мы зачастую ходили на игры тогда ещё во Дворец Спорта на ул.Зорге. То ли по телевизору при просмотре очередной игры, то ли еще где-то было объявление о наборе в хоккейную школу детей 99-98г.р. Как-то так мы об этом узнали и меня привели попробовать свои силы.

Опыт игры в Толпаре?

Отличная команда родной для меня системы. Очень сплоченный и дружный коллектив, профессиональный и грамотный тренерский штаб в лице Гареева Алика Амирхановича, Полозова Константина Александровича, Василевского Андрея Леонидовича, Буторина
Анатолия Геннадьевича и всех остальных тренеров и персонала. Остались лишь тёплые воспоминания о этих двух сезонах. Сейчас так же слежу за успехами Толпара и вижу постоянный рост потенциала клуба и сопутствующие ему успехи. Так же хотелось бы поблагодарить всех вышеперечисленных за опыт и знания предоставленные за это время.

Чего не хватило, чтоб попасть в Салават Юлаев?

Салават Юлаев, по моему мнению топ-клуб КХЛ во всех аспектах, чтобы попасть в такого рода клуб нужен огромный труд и опыт, особенно от вратаря, посчитал лучшим для себя вариантом набраться игрового опыта. Мы зачастую не знаем куда приведёт нас то или иное решение, но в любой ситуации нужно работать и стремится, это обязательно вознаграждается.

Юрий Грошев сыграл 48 матчей с Салаватом Юлаевым Уфа

Как оказались в Софии?

В связи с общемировым локдауном, оказался в довольно затруднительной ситуации с поисками клуба. Терять время на ожидания, что тебя куда-то позовут посчитал несостоятельным. Агент Ботев Иван сам является уроженцем Болгарии и предложил такой вариант. Любовь к хоккею, желание работать над собой и играть, повлияло на мое решение в первую очередь.

Первое о чем Вы подумали, когда узнали, что будете играть в Болгарии?

С агентом долго обсуждали варианты, даже не помню тот момент когда это все было решено. Помню что стал интересоваться в принципе болгарским хоккеем, в частности клубом в который попал. Однозначно могу сказать, что после долгого перерыва был рад снова оказаться в условиях моего любимого дела. Ещё в Уфе выходя на тренировки на льду, получал огромное удовольствие, а новость о начале сезона была радостной, хотя и были некоторые мысли о незнакомой для меня стране и новом менталитете людей, но клуб создал все условия для быстрой адаптации в Софии, и конечно же для тренировок, как на льду, так и вне льда.

Вы писали, что, чтоб играть в Салавате Юлаеве Вам нужно больше опыта и труда, считаете уровень болгарского хоккея позволит Вам расти как вратарю?

Из системы Салавата я перешёл в клуб Вхл «Сокол» из Красноярска, а уже в связи в вышеупомянутом локдауном был произведён переход в «НСА». Но в любом случае, все зависит от твоей работы и желания, и если есть условия для работы, а они здесь есть, то рост зависит лишь от тебя. С Константином Лавреновым, игравшем в словакии последние несколько сезонов и по совместительству воспитанником «Сибири». Работаем над собой каждый день, мы оба оказались в непростой ситуации, но совпали в желании расти и продолжать свой путь в хоккее.

Юрий Грошев выступал за красноярскую рысь

Как проходил переезд в другую страну?

Все переезды были организованны клубом. Из Уфы на несколько дней приехал в Питер, для решения вопросов по визе. После чего прилетел в Стамбул, где меня встретил агент и персонал клуба. На машине добрались до Софии, первые несколько дней жил в гостинице, после чего переехал в квартиру. Как я уже упомянул все организационные нюансы взял на себя клуб.

Встречались уже с игроками с которыми проведёте сезон?

Да, с самого приезда в Софию мы приступили к тренировкам. Пока что возникают трудности в коммуникации из-за незнания языка, но по глазам ребят можно сказать, что у них есть желание играть и выигрывать . Приняли нас в коллективе очень тепло.

Учите ли болгарский язык, как общаетесь с командой во время игры?

Болгарский язык целенаправлено не учил, но в принципе из-за схожести языков и проведённого тут времени начал его понимать. Некоторые игроки и вовсе учили русский в школе и знают его на базовом уровне, так что во время игры иногда использую русский, а с теми кто не понимают общаюсь на английском.

АНБ София Команда

Уровень зарплаты в Болгарии дотягивает до зарплат хоккеистов из России? И платят ли местным игрокам?

Зарплаты конечно не дотягивают до уровня ВХЛ, а вот с ВХЛ Б, насколько мне были известны условия во второй команде Красноярска, можно сказать что условия организованные тут можно сравнивать, и я бы сказал, что они по многим пунктам даже более привлекательны. О зарплатах с местными игроками я почти не общался, знаю лишь что платят какие-то деньги тем, кто помимо игр, ещё работает с детьми на тренировках.

Чем помимо хоккея занимаются игроки клуба?

Ребята в команде находятся в разном возрастном диапазоне, кто-то работает, кто-то учится в университете.

Приходят ли болельщики поддержать любимую команду, и вообще есть ли у людей в Болгарии интерес к хоккею?

На вопрос о болельщиках полноценно ответить не смогу. Все игры проходили в условиях карантина, и на них не пускали болельщиков, кроме друзей и семей игроков. Когда интересовался о прошлых сезонах, парни говорили что вроде как поддержка есть, особенно в принципиальных играх бывало. Интерес к хоккею конечно невелик, но как мне кажется, определенный потенциал есть.

Приходят ли болельщики поддержать любимую команду, и вообще есть ли у людей в Болгарии интерес к хоккею?

На вопрос о болельщиках полноценно ответить не смогу. Все игры проходили в условиях карантина, и на них не пускали болельщиков, кроме друзей и семей игроков. Когда интересовался о прошлых сезонах, парни говорили что вроде как поддержка есть, особенно в принципиальных играх бывало. Интерес к хоккею конечно невелик, но как мне кажется, определенный потенциал есть.

В чём для Вас главные отличия хоккея в двух странах?

В первую очередь это – уровень развития хоккея, здесь его развивают отдельные люди и он не входит в приоритет на государственном уровне. Ещё бы отметил разницу менталитета, на ребят нет сильного психологического давления, поэтому они просто получают удовольствие от игры, вне зависимости от результата.

Если Вам предложат стать вратарем сборной Болгарии, то примите предложение?

Будущее сложно предугадать, моя задача работать над собой в любых условиях, конечно в первую очередь хотелось бы реализоваться как вратарь на хорошем уровне.



Q & A with Sadiq Saleem

Sadiq saleem,
Founding member and President of a youth based organization named as ‘The Altit Sports Club And Rising Federation (SCARF)’

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of Interviewing Sadiq Saleem from Pakistan. Sadiq Saleem is the
founding member and President of a youth based organization named as ‘The Altit Sports Club And Rising Federation (SCARF)’ . The Altit SCARF organized the Pakistan’s first ever Ice Hockey tournament in season-1 at grassroots level in 2019 and this year in 2021 they have successfully organized season-3.


Q1: Can you gives us a brief history of ice hockey in Pakistan?

The first ever community to support Ice hockey at grassroots level was first organized by The Altit Sports Club and Rising Federation (SCARF) at the premises of 1100 years old Altit Fort, for the very first time in the history of Pakistan. It was a totally a self-help event by The Altit Sports Club and rising federation. Moreover, ice hockey was also been organized by Pakistan Air Force at Naltar valley at organizational level.

How did you become fan of this sport?

A special type of hockey was played by our elders many years ago locally known as “Phinchko”. One of our members had attended a two days ice skating training camp in 2014, he later trained our local youth. One day it was a snowy day in winters of 2015) we started to skate on ice and then we learned ice hockey by ourselves and also watched some videos on youtube. Then we became interested in ice hockey and our community has supported us to organized local level championship. We, then, extended our event on the basis of our expertise and organized a provincial championship in 2021.

The Altit SCARF organized Pakistan’s first ever Ice Hockey tournament at the grassroots level in 2019 and this year in 2021 you successfully organized it again. Have the numbers of participants grown over the last 3 years?

Yes. The Altit SCARF organized Pakistan’s first ever Ice Hockey tournament at the grassroots level in 2019 as season-I and this year in 2021 we successfully organized ice hockey championship season-III. We have witnessed an increasing number of players in the last 3 years. Initially we had maximum of only 8 ice hockey players. But this year we have witnessed more than 100 players of ice hockey which includes both Boys and Girls. All of these players are trained by our senior players on self-help basis. In our recent ice hockey championship, 10 teams had participated out of them 3 teams were comprised of girls.

Youth ice hockey tournament in Northern Pakistan


Young girls take part in youth hockey tournament

Are you getting any players or coaches from other countries to help out?

Not really. But we are optimist that if we get any support and guidance, we can fully polish our skills to play ice hockey

What’s the long-term plans and how do they plan on achieving them?

Our plan is to make a national team of Ice hockey which will represent Pakistan and play for Pakistan at international level. Further. We want to create sports based diplomatic ties with other countries to promote healthy activities and brotherhood.

Hockey Night in Hunza, Pakistan

Are there any plans to build indoor ice rinks in the country?

We are currently limited to our region and maximum to our province Gilgit-Baltistan. But here as well, we are trying to build more rinks to play ice hockey by involving the local communities. We hope that by continuing our struggle we will build maximum possible ice hockey rinks in Pakistan in near future.

Ice hockey equipment is very expensive, where are you getting it from?

We cannot afford to buy full equipment of ice hockey and currently we lag the safety gear as well. We buy the used skates from the Flea markets of Karachi and Lahore. We were also assisted by some individuals as well.

India & Nepal have join the International Ice Hockey Federation. Will Pakistan follow suit in the coming years?

We are optimist about our talent, potential and spirit towards ice hockey. Pakistan is a country full of young potential and confidence. As a citizen of Pakistan, I can confidently say that Pakistan will join the international ice hockey federation in coming years.

Hoping one day to play for Pakistan

Have there been any talks with India or Nepal about having joint development hockey camps or tournaments to help develop the sport in the region?

Any Government official can answer this question, if they have any higher level talks with any of the countries. As we are an independent youth organization and organize ice hockey on self-help basis, so we are not been able to talk to other countries so far.

I feel lucky that have got this golden opportunity to talk to IIHF as a president of a youth organization.

Do think that winter sports in general can get a foot hold in Pakistan sporting landscape?

A big yes. I would say, Northern Pakistan and valleys like HUNZA, especially, has this opportunity to uplift the winter sports at national and International level.

Teams ready to do battle

Q & A with Sebastian Kahuna

By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of interviewing Sebastian Kahuna who is an actor and producer, known for Santo Domingo, The App and The I-Land (2019) Sebastian is also a huge hockey fan and started hockey in Dominican Republic.

How did you get started in developing the game of hockey in the Dominican Republic?

I first started to travel to the DR for pleasure and soon came the famous NHL playoff season and I realized that it was nearly impossible to follow the games back then.

So we started what is today Kahuna on Cabarete beach on the North Coast of the DominicanRepublic. Today it is a full beach hotel with an ocean front restaurant bar on the first level . Back then it was a small typical Beach Bar but operated as an American Sports Bar with multiple TVs where the patrons gathered to watch their favorite sports.

Being Canadian, Hockey was always featured and with time… and over many beers & wings while sitting on the beach, the idea of playing hockey and having our own team came and just like that the Kahuna Hockey Team was created. Has things grew we hosted various tournament s and events including; Embassy challenges, All-Inclusive Resorts Packages including Tournaments for tourists and the Alex Burrow’s Cup.

Are all the players locals or are there expats?

A mixture of both. But mostly expats from all around the world and retired players.

DR team at the Alex burrows cup in 2016

How did former NHLer Alex Burrows get involved?

We have a friend in common, who is in charge of the Burrow s cup and we try hosting it at least once a year. ALEX is a deck hockey veteran and has always pushed its development. They, reached out to us when they heard about what we were trying to accomplish here in the Caribbeans and since we don’t have an ice rink yet it just made sense to join our journeys.

DR team at the Alex burrows cup in 2017

In 2015 the Florida Panthers hosted a hockey clinic on the Island. How did this event help bring awareness to the game?

The PR event increased drastically the energy and the hope of an Latin-American league to grow and for many Ice Rinks to be build over the region. It also spiked the interests of some current NHL retired and active Hockey players to get involved and support us.

Before this interview we talked a little bit and you mentioned that you also do ice hockey training, but you have to travel. Where do you go and how many players go with you?

Over the years we have been going to various cities for different tournaments and also to played short seasons. In my case I have been fortunate to manage to play a few full summer seasons in Alberta (where 2 Edmonton City league Cups were won, thanks to my Canadian fellows over thereunder!!!) and half winter seasons in Quebec. Toronto(Canada), New York(USA), Barcelona(Spain) and others.

Where does the funding come from?

For our normal season the money comes from us the players. Some of it has come from Kahuna initially when we first started but now that money is. mostly used for tournaments, or events (which may include beers and wings on occasion) LOL

This what teams play for the Alex Burrows Cup

There is speculation that the Dominican Republic will play their first ice hockey game in Puerto Rico when this pandemic is over. Is this true?

Yes. It is in the works! We were very close to make this a tangible reality and make it over to visit our friends over in Puerto Rico last year but COVID19 had other plans for us. Let’s hope things come back to normal soon.

Are there any future plans to play in the Latam Cup, like your neighbors Puerto Rico and Jamaica did last year?

Yes. We will most likely see for the first time in history a Dominican Republic ice hockey team in the next Latin cup. And I cannot wait to see our names appear on that CUP!!!

Possible DR Jersey’s for Latam Cup

Are there any plans to have a Hockey Association or Federation in the future?

Yes, as you know we’ve been working on having an ice hockey rink here for the last 10 years and being part of such organization would be a must.

You are an actor and producer, what sort of things are you working on for 2021 and will we see you in any movies or films next year?

Yes most definitely . Many of 2020’s releases were paused with the closures of the movie theaters, therefore 2021 will have many Productions released which I’m part of.

o keep this answer short, the best I can say for people is to follow me on social medias where I release scoops and details on some upcoming films sebastiankahuna on Twitter, Facebook and also on IMDb  : where some movie productions or being posted. One thing I can say is that hockey and baseball will be soon featured on the big screen.

WHEN ASKED; Sebastian did not deny the possibility of seeing this crazy “Hockey in the Caribbean Adventure” displayed on the big screen. Sebastian added that it made it big for the “Jamaican bobsled Team” back in the days why not doing the same again in a Hockey Movie!


Danylo Didkovsky “Winning the Spanish Championship is an incentive for local players”

By Maxim Garashchuk – National Teams of Ice Hockey

In 2000, Ukrainian striker Danylo Didkovsky moved from Sokol Kiev to Spanish Club CH Jaca. Danylo continues to work in Spanish hockey. He is the technical director of Barcelona. In an interview with our site, Danylo Didkovsky spoke about his career, the popularity of hockey in Spain and who are the local players look up to.

 Tell us about how you ended up in Spain?

It happened in 2000. I was invited to Spain by Sergei Zemchenko, a former hockey player, now a coach. I think that many people know him – he played in “Sokol”. Recently he  worked as a  trainer at Severstal (KHL) and was a assistant at Almaz (MHL). At that time Sergei worked as a coach of the local club “CH Jaca” and he told me to come to Spain to play if I had no other proposals. Then at the very last moment Germany fell through. So I came to CH Jaca. I thought it was for a couple of years, but it turned out that I am still in Spain.

In Spain you played for two teams?

Yes, the first team was CH Jaca, which I have already mentioned. The second is Barcelona. In 2008, I was invited there by Evgeny Semeriak, a famous hockey player who played for Dynamo Riga in the Soviet Union. For three seasons, I was just a player, then I became a player coach, then I became the head coach, and now I work as the technical director.

Barcelona’s team photo in the 2008/2009 championship season

Do you only work for Barcelona – is this your main job?

 Yes, I only do hockey. 

What happened in the 2007/08 season? ( according to statistical sites Danylo Didkovsky  did not play that season)

I started that season at CH Jaca, but because of problems with the Ice rink, we played only six weeks, our club was removed and the statistics were not counted.

In the 2016/2017 season, you again took to the ice with the Catalan team?

Yes. I continued to train and played a couple of decisive games. I also Coached the team.

What was the feeling of playing on the same team with your son?

During training, I try to treat him like everyone else, and not my son. That is, there are more expectations than from other players. Sometimes it happened that he was offended and asked why you yell at me more than at some of the local players (lol). We didn’t really intersect on the ice, so I didn’t really feel it.

Danil Didkovsky with his son Stanislav

An incident occurred in the first round of this season of the Spanish Championship?

Yes, it happened in Majadahonda, in the suburbs of Madrid. We went out on the ice and it turned out that during the Spanish anthem, the grandmother of one of the hockey players felt sick. She was reanimated right in front of everyone in the stands. For 10 minutes we tried to bring her to her senses, but she did not react. Everyone was in shocked. Moreover, this person was a close relative of one of the hockey players who did not have parents. By mutual agreement, it was decided to postpone this game to February, And this grandmother, unfortunately, died a day or two later, she had a heart attack.

And last year in Barcelona in the pre-qualification for the Olympic Games, the ice began to melt.

In Barcelona, ​​the skating rink is from the 1980s and it turns out that before the tournament it was melting it was necessary to impose markings and logos of the organizers. In some places where the ice was not frozen enough. There was a “hole” in the middle of the ice, it was not possible to freeze it, so the game was postponed to January.

Were there any consequences?

No, Spain and the Netherlands were not to blame here. The Dutch just had to visit us twice. In any case, it was clear that they were  stronger than the Spaniards, so they beat them, but our guys put up a good a fight (on January 8, 2020, the Netherlands beat Spain with a score of 5: 3)

Compare the level of hockey in Spain with Portugal and France?

As far as I know, there is no hockey in Portugal. At least I haven’t heard about it. And speaking of France, we have had a joint youth league with them in the U13 and U15 categories. From France there were teams from southern cities, from Spain there were clubs from the northern part of the country. There is no difference at this age. Everyone knows that France used to play in the elite division. They have professional teams that show high level hockey. Their players train 5-6 times and play 2-3 games a week – this is the main difference from our championship. We have one game a week and a maximum of two or three trainings.

Danil Didkovsky coaches Barcelona U16

 There is one league in Spain. Right?

Yes. Liga Nacional de Hockey Hielo . In the best years, the number of teams were eight, and now there are only five teams. The Federation is trying to increase the numbers, but so far there is no comprehensive approach to this. There is no interest from the state to build new ice rinks.

Earlier in the championship there was a team “Milenio Lograno”, which was losing to absolutely everyone. Does such a club make sense?

 I think it makes sense when it comes to the long-term perspective. Today they have children’s teams in the cities of Vitoria and Pamplona, but they have no adult teams. They prepare players for under 18, and then they either have to end their careers or move to other cities. Making an adult team  and adding up to five foreigners is a very good idea and would be stronger teams. However, this requires perspective and patience. If you do this for three to five years, it would be a big expense. Nobody wants to do this, except for a few enthusiasts. The team will stay for a year and fall apart. Now in the championship there are five clubs that are more or less stable, and these clubs have an interest from the cities.

How has the popularity of ice hockey changed in Spain during your stay?

By the way, I recently talked about this topic with people whom I have known for many years. Interest will goes up, then it goes down . Roughly the popularity has remained the same. The rural towns of Jaca and Puigcerda have high attendance for games prior to the coronavirus. This makes me happy. Then there are three clubs in Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona. It depends on the success of the club. If the season was successful, then yes, the stands will be filled. If not, then there very few people in the stands. In general, I think that the interest in hockey in all cities is the same.

Are there many more people in Barcelona who do not know that there is a club in their city that plays hockey?

Most of them. I think that about 20-30 percent know about the existence of Barcelona playing hockey.  It happens that foreigners who have been working in the city for three or four years, or local residents, hear from someone that there is a hockey Barcelona in the city and are surprised, they say, “We hear about this all the time.” Everyone knows about basketball, which is played in the same Blaugrana sports palace, but not about hockey.

Danil Didkovskiy accepts congratulations after Barcelona U16 win in the playoffs in the 2015/2016 season

Are Barcelona hockey players paid?

Barça pays, but only the best players. In my opinion, six hockey players are paid this season. We have foreigners who come to study or work and do not get anything for playing hockey. We have a young team, the average age is 22 years old and the bulk are students.

How did the situation with COVID-19 affect Spanish hockey?

 Due to the coronavirus, the number of foreigners has decreased, and the budget has been cut for clubs.

Does Spain have a women’s hockey league?

Yes, and the most interesting thing is that it has more teams than the men’s league.

Who do Spanish hockey players look up to?

If we talk about people from Czech, Canadian and Russian families, then they are equal to the NHL players. Of course, the locals are also watched.

Do you think Rafael Diaz is the most famous hockey player in Spain?

I’m sure that few people know Rafael Diaz. I think it depends on the generation. Now hearing Ander Alcaine – a good goalkeeper who managed to play in the Magnus League and even won a playoff in the “Briançon”. He is not currently playing. At one time, he went to a training camp in Toronto. If we compare him with others, then we can say that he achieved high results. About 20 years ago, when I played, there were also excellent hockey players who showed decent hockey in France.

How would you rate the game of the Spanish national team?

Youth hockey has grown. Over the past 10 years, the geography of youth teams has expanded, hence the competition. There was a mass good results of the teams under 18 and 20 years old. The progress is visible. For Spain, it is a huge plus that a good generation is growing up. The Spaniards are scattered all over the world, like  Rafael Diaz. The federation is gradually bringing players with Spanish citizenship to the national team. In this regard, the federation began to work harder.

 For the last two years Spain U20 has retained its position only thanks to one victory.

 I think that there is simply not enough experience. I just went to the last youth world championship when Spain was playing and watched the games. There is literally not enough experience and understanding that every mistake at this level is punished. In any case, we keep our position by winning one game is a good result. We have been playing at this level for only a couple of years, and now the task is only to gain a foothold. While we will not make plans for the future, Spain is neither Canada nor Russia, which can recruit three teams. Much depends on how lucky you are with the younger generation. This is about the same as the Belgium national football team. Now they have a good line-up, and the last time was in 1986.

Spain U18 celebrates Division IIB victory in 2017/2018

Who do you think, should Spain follow the example of Romania, South Korea or Kazakhstan and start naturalizing hockey players?

 I don’t think it’s necessary. I talked about this topic. The only thing is that there are foreigners who settled in Spain, have been playing here for a long time, and do not plan to leave, why not give them a chance to prove themselves on the national team. You can find people with Spanish roots in North America, but they will play in the third division, not at the top level. There is no sense in this, since the federation itself does not set high goals, because our league is semi-professional. If this is done in a comprehensive manner, as it is done in South Korea, where the level of hockey has been raised, or in China, where money has also been invested, then it makes sense.

Previously, Barcelona was invited to international tournaments. How are things now?

There have been no invitations lately. We had a chance to go to Continental Cup in Iceland, as we won the regular season. However, due to the coronavirus, this could not be done.

Does participation in the Continental Cup help develop Spanish ice hockey?

First of all, winning the Spanish Championship is an incentive for local players. A professional hockey player has his own incentives, including his salary. For our players, this translates into trips to the Continental Cup. The guys strive for this and this is a good  in terms of development.

Puigcerda celebrated a playoff victory near the sea. How is the championship celebrated in Spain and are the players getting any prize money?

They won just in San Sebastian, left the ice rink and went with the cup to the beach. They are great guys. When Barcelona last won the championship we were invited to the Camp Nou, we sat in the box and went out onto the field with the cup. It was interesting.

Is there any interest from the audience to the games of the championship and national teams?

The games of the local championship are broadcast, they are shown on TV. Definitely, The final part of the playoffs was also broadcast. The spectators go to the decisive games, I think, like everywhere else. And when the national team plays, and often there are tournaments held in Spain, the stands are filled up at these games.

Last season, Serbia won in all age categories.

The same thing happened with Spain in 2017. It was a real triumph then. The adults, U20, U18, even the girls won back then, but that didn’t change anything. In any case, such successes of the national teams cannot but rejoice.


Nikita Bashkirov: “I feel at home here”

By Maxim Garashchuk – National Teams of Ice Hockey

On November 6, Russian forward Nikita Bashkirov signed a contract with the Lithuanian club Baltu Ainiai Kaunas. Previously played in the Sweden for Olofströms IK. In his debut game in the Lithuanian Championship, Nikita scored 4 goals and added two assists, as his team beat Klaipeda (12: 3). In a conversation with one of our journalists, the former Stalnye Lisy forward told why he decided to leave Sweden and also shared his emotions about the first match with Baltu Ainiai Kaunas.

Why did you decide to leave Olofströms IK?

At Olofströms IK I didn’t get enough playing time. At the same time, not all the conditions for my arrival there were fulfilled by the club’s management, and I had problems with the English language. I constantly had to ask Pavils Galsons to translate all the coach’s requirements to me. Then the second wave of coronavirus began and the games in Sweden were postponed for a month. Then I decided that something needed to be changed so that all this would not last the whole season. I began to communicate with the management of the club so that they would let me go.

How did you get the offer to play in Lithuania?

While I was solving issues with the club’s manager, I was looking for options in other countries for a comfortable continuation of this season, and through some friends, I  found a good Belarusian coach in Lithuania – Alexander Mikheyonok . I talked with him, he just said that they have one place for a foreign player and they will wait for me, as I will resolve all issues with “Olofströms IK”.

How would you comment on the debut game in Lithuania?

The debut game was quite interesting, as “Klaipeda” had one of the best goalkeepers in the league. The entire game was played practically in the opponent’s zone and there were a lot of chances to score. we did not start well in the first half of the first period of the game, but then we broke through and the result was a 12: 3 defeat of Klaipeda.

You finished with 4 goals and two assists?

 I didn’t expect it to turn out that way. The last time something like this happened to me was in my youth hockey days.

 Did you know anything about the local championship before coming to Lithuania?

My friend here is Makar Tokarev. Before my arrival, he told me everything: about the city, management, coaches, living conditions and the level of hockey. Therefore, nothing surprised me when I arrived in Lithuania. I feel at home here. The team received me well.

How is the team preparing for the upcoming game against the 21-time national champion Energija Elektrėnai?

It’s just another game for us.  We prepare for all games the same way. We respect all of our opponents in the league.

Q & A with Javokhir Rasulov

By Vitaly Nesterov – National Teams of Ice Hockey

Javokhir Rasulov allocated time for us and talked about himself, about the tasks for the season and about Uzbek hockey

Javokhir, hello. Tell us about your career, how did you come to hockey?

Hello. Yes, my career roughly speaking is just beginning.
(Javokhir is 20 years old, he was born on February 6, 1999)

I started in Samara in the courtyard, I was 10-11 years old, and at the age of 12 I went to play professionally for CSK VVS children’s school, now it is called “Kometa”. and so it slowly went from there.

How was the transition to Humo?

I was happy that a team was created in my hometown. A gift of fate, It’s a great opportunity to become a good player, because I haven’t played for the last 2 years.

In your opinion, what should “Humo” count on this season, what is the task for the season?

The task is to get into the playoffs, the further the better. We have a good team, two experienced and two young teams, many have played in the KHL and MHL.
There are even hockey players with experience of playing overseas (defender Igor Merezhko and foward Vasily Aniskin played in the Canadian junior leagues,

You are still the only hockey player in Humo  from Uzbekistan, tell me, are you planning to strengthen the team with more local players in the future?

There is another guy in the second team, he started to play in Tashkent, but I think that within 5-7 years there will be more composition by local players. There are children born in 2007-2009, a couple of good guys, they play in the championship of Kazakhstan.

Javokhir Rasulov is proud to be playing for is home town team

“But the future of Uzbek hockey should be promising, because the entry of the clubs of the“ Humo ”system in various professional championships gave a good boost for future development.

 I also think so, it’s very good that we have created two teams and the children will come to us and understand what real hockey is. People will bring their children and this will give a good reason for the children to think about starting to play hockey. Soon they want to create a national team. In general, we will develop.

Please share your impressions of the first game between Humo and Ryazan.

The first period did not go as we wanted, since we had not played for a long time. In the second period, we came out fast and scored alot of goals and followed the coach’s instructions. (“Humo” won with a score of 5: 0,) 

Thank you very much to the fans for coming to support us. There were even more people for the game with Barça. I think that over time there will be full stands, but so far many do not know that such a game exists in Tashkent. Also tickets to the games are expensive and many may not want to spend their money.

Uzbekistan cannot be called a country remote from hockey. Many fans are familiar with the Binokor club, which played in the USSR championship. Quite a long time has passed since then. Since then have many people forgotten about hockey?

 Well, don’t tell. You know, I once met people, even rode in a taxi once, asked “What are you doing?”, and when I talk about hockey, they immediately started to remember about Binokor club. People of a certain age of course remember about the club.

Can you tell us why Humo started to play in the VHL championship?

Well, it’s not for nothing that we got such a great arena (LOL)

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