Category: Interviews (Page 1 of 7)

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  : http://imdb.me/Sebastiankahuna 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)

Q & A with Shaylene Swanepoel

Shaylene Swanepoel 10 year veteran of south Africa Women’s National Team

By George Da Silva – National Teams of ice Hockey

We had the great pleasure of speaking with Shaylene Swanepoel a 10 year veteran of the South African Women’s National Team and also a awesome chiropractic.

How did you get started in ice hockey?

Ice hockey isn’t exactly considered a common sport to be played in South Africa. We used to go to the public sessions and skate for hours at a time. From there we met the “better skaters” that actually introduced my sister and I to ice hockey. This was something different and fun to try do… I mean, my sister and I weren’t allowed to Rollerblade, however we managed to twist my parents arm into trying to play ice hockey.

Why did you become a goaltender?

For about 3 years I played defence. My ex-boyfriend used to play in goal… So I thought why not give it a go?

It turned out I wasn’t that bad – had a decent blocker and a not too bad butterfly for a first timer. I kept on playing in goal because I loved the challenge, I do find that goalkeepers at times get over looked and maybe not enough credit for some of their efforts. It’s a huge mental game, not only physical. The training is also unique which makes you a huge part of the team. Makes me feel great that I can contribute in some way to my team.

Some may say I just don’t like to get off the ice haha, as being part of the reason. But it really is a position where not only do you get to appreciate the game by watching, but also by being involved and part of the action.

Shaylene Swanepoel concentrates on #10 of Belgium in front of her goal.

How did women’s hockey get started in south Africa and is women’s hockey growing in the country?

South African Ice Hockey has been a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) since 1937. Due to sanctions we were not allowed to participate in IIHF world championships until 1994. The first Woman’s team to represent South Africa in an international event was 1999. It was difficult years to try and qualify for World championships, in those day’s. It was difficult for woman players as there was no woman’s league and female players played and competed with their male counter parts.

Since those early day’s a lot has changed. Woman’s ice hockey development increased tremendously since then. Our numbers steadily increased to more then 175 female players in the country from all ages, races and religions.

There isn’t much information on the web about domestic women league in South Africa, can you tell us about it?

All provinces now has development woman players, playing half/cross ice games, in the smaller provinces these woman teams will play against junior boys teams except for Gauteng Ice Hockey Association where they have 4 development ladies teams since 2015 which compete in their own league against each other with the youngest player as young as 7 years old since most ladies still play in teams with their male counterparts. Gauteng ice hockey created an all woman’s team the Black Panthers in 2013, this team compromised off all their elite woman players (most of which were national team players) competing in the U18 boys league. In 2017 Gauteng Ice Hockey created a Junior Panthers team for younger female players showing potential, they competed in the U16 boys league. It became evident that woman change their game when they play against woman then when they play against men therefore, Gauteng created a senior woman’s league in 2019, they created 2 equal strength teams to compete against each other, it is important for the younger players to play and learn from the older players, as a result the Junior Panthers program has been discontinued.

How has the coronavirus pandemic effect ice hockey in the county?

The Corona Virus pandemic impacted the sport tremendously. All ice hockey activities was suspended since the lock down started, as a result our U18 Men’s and Senior Men’s tours for the IIHF world championships has been cancelled. We also withdrew our U20 team which were supposed to participate in their tournament during January 2021 in Mexico City. On ice practices are only starting now, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us to be able to participate in the rest of the Championship schedule, in February, March and April 2021.These are all dependent on pandemic control. During the lock down, SAIHF in partnership with Star Zone sport in Sweden, presented a winner heads program to keep players off ice skills and fitness up. For our National program the SAIHF director of coaching, Andre Marais, worked with APA training systems for a more intense off ice fitness program.

You have represented your country in 10 IIHF world championships, what is your most memorable tournament?

Wow, 10 already.

I would have to say our most recent one in Bulgaria December 2019 (2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship Division III). After playing numerous tours, winning gold definitely takes the cake.

South Africa captures gold at the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship Division III

Did you ever have any offers or want to leave South Africa to play hockey at a higher level?

Unfortunately no offers, it would have been great though. I would have loved to have tried to get to play anywhere in the world. A lot of the time, funding is a huge part of why some of us can’t get to other parts of the world for exposure.

But if I could even get a chance to be one of the treating Chiropractors for one of the teams, that would also be amazing.

Shaylene Swanepoel leads her team to a 2-1 victory over Hong Kong

You now have other African countries playing the game like Kenya, Algeria and Morocco. Do you think the game can grow on the African continent?

Definitely YES! It would be fantastic! It may be challenging considering our climate on this side of the world. Funding and investments is also some of the hurdles we all may face. However why not start somewhere? It just may take a bit of time.

You are now a chiropractic. Why did you pick this line of work?

On my first hockey tour….we had a Chiropractor on as our team Medical Doctor. I didn’t know what Chiropractors were until I had seen what she had done for our team. This got me into researching and observing what Chiropractors do for not only athletes, but also for babies, adults, geriatrics, as well as pre and post surgery patients. It showed me how we as a profession can make a difference in someone’s life, and I fell in love with the profession and never looked back.

Outside of hockey and your professional career, what are your goals?

That’s a very good question…. It’s a tricky one to answer. My goal is to live a long and happy life with the ones I love around me.

Shaylene Swanepoel and the rest the South African Women’s National Team

Awards: 
2010-2011
World Championship (D4) Top Player on Team

2014-2015
World Championship (D2BQ) Best GAA (1.27)
World Championship (D2BQ) Best SVS% (.951) 
World Championship (D2BQ) Bronze Medal

2015-2016
World Championship (D2BQ) Bronze Medal

2016-2017
World Championship (D2BQ) Bronze Medal

2017-2018
World Championship (D2BQ) Bronze Medal

2018-2019
World Championship (D2BQ) Bronze Medal

2019-2020 World Championship (D3) Gold Medal

Maxim Viktorov: “In Croatia in the 90s I received more money”

By Vitaly Nesterov – National Teams of Ice Hockey

The head coach of the Night Hockey League club “Yadreny Vozhd” Maxim Viktorov in an exclusive interview with our website spoke about life in Croatia and local hockey in the 90s.

Why Croatia?

I left in the mid-90s for Croatia to play for Medvescak by invitation. I left, it seems, in the 96-97 season after the games for SAK Moscow.

I played three seasons at Medvescak, and in the second to the third season I was allowed to play for the national team.

The move to Croatia was due to the invitation of the “Sab-Spartak Moscow-2” coach Yuri Nikolaevich Novikov, a well-known coach both in Russia and in the world. Before joining SAK, I played on that team. At that time, he was invited to work as a head coach at Medvescak and he invited me as one of the leading players of the team. Actually, I agreed. Then in Russia everything was not so simple with hockey and with life. I approximately remember the low level of salaries then, and traveling abroad was generally considered a miracle. Therefore, it was interesting to go and try to play there. Arriving there, I met other hockey players from Russia whom I did not know. They were mostly veterans, but there were also younger hockey players. As for the Croatian national team, it seems that only Gennadi Gorbachev was there before me. If so, then it turns out that I am the second Russian in the history to play for the Croatian national team.

Gennadi Gorbachev took part in the world championships for the Croatian national team in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Gorbachev was the top scorer of the tournament in 1996.

I spent three years in Croatia, played at the World Championships and left for Russia, but I didn’t gain a foothold anywhere. I had to pause a little. Then I began to play for the Sokol Novocheboksarsk.  I went to my last world championships. In the same season and then returned to Medvescak for half a season, and did not go to play for the national team four a fourth World Championships. The injuries began, so I decided to end my career. Recently I have been receiving invitations to work as a trainer in Croatia, but now I have other tasks related to the project in Moscow.

Maxim Viktorov head coach of the Night Hockey League club Yadreny Vozhd

What is Croatian ice hockey in the 90s?

Croatian ice hockey has not changed in the 90s, 2000s and 2020. I regularly follow hockey in the country, I know the situation from the inside, because I have good relations with the sports director of one of the clubs and with the president of another club team, and I regularly visit this country myself.

In the 90s there were four clubs in which both Russians and Slovaks played and a few Czechs. Then there were some restrictions on the number of foreign players on the teams. I, Gorbachev and a Slovak were on Medvescak. Naturally, there were also local players. The best Croatian hockey players were gathered in “Medvescak”, since the club has its own winning history, every season there was a task to win. It is important to understand that there it is amateur hockey by our standards. I knew that if I wanted to continue to play at a good level, I had to constantly train. So I did it on my own time, kept myself in shape. We played in international league, there it was a joint league with Slovenia and Hungarian clubs. There were many tournaments, as Hungary and Slovenia are nearby. International championships were normal. Sport in Croatia is generally very developed,

At that time the salaries were higher than in Russia, comfortable living, wonderful climate, kind people. In general, I found only positive impressions of Croatia.

I quickly joined the team, the team accepted me, and I began to show good results. I was offered to stay for the next season, and Yuri Nikolaevich at that time had already left for Soviet Wings. He called me to his place an ask me to play at the, Mayor’s Cup, but it didn’t work out for me and I came back to Medvescak. They were waiting for me there, everyone was happy with everything, we won, we were champions, I was the best player. and after the second season, I was told: to stay with the club for another season, They give me citizenship and was told me” I would play for the national team.” I agreed. I also had a offer from Slovenia, where Sergei Stolbun played in Jesenica. He invited me there, but I refused, as everything suited me at Medvescak, and the agreement was in terms of playing for the Croatian national team, so I stayed. And I got citizenship, got the right to play for the national team and went to the World Championships.

Croatia squad?

The games for the national team practically did not differ from the games for the club, because both in the club and on the national team, all the hope was on me, because I was a foreign, So I had to carry the whole team. Of course, my teammates helped me, because we were already had played together, so it was easier for me. At theskill  level that we had, we had enough strength to beat serious opponents. But without my 100% dedication and extra efforts it would be hard to achieve something. We did not have a goal to win the tournament, we had goals either not to be demoted to the lower division or to take a medal from the championships. I played in three tournaments – Group C in the Netherlands in 1999, Group C in China in 2000, we got promoted and finished 3rd place in 2001 we played at IB in Slovenia. I still have a medal for the 3rd place finish.

What now?

I had good relationships with both players and people from the people who ran the hockey club, and not only. I have been friends with Marin Miljak for many years, we met him when he was still a Zagreb player. We often see each other and I communicate with his parents, with his family. Marin is a wonderful person with a lot of experience. He now works at Zagreb as a coach and sports director. Last season, under his leadership, the club for the first time in many years, it seems, in 36 years, became the champions of Croatia and broke the dominance of Medvescak.

Now professional “Medvescak” does not exist, only a school and a youth team are working. In other clubs the situation is no better. In principle, it is not clear how the future seasons of both the local and foreign championships will develop, not only because of financial problems, but also because of the coronavirus.

And at the moment I work as a coach in the Moscow club of the Night Hockey League “Yadreny Vozhd”, and since this season I am also a regional representative of the NHL in Moscow.

Q & A with Dan Locmelis

By Maxim Garashchuk – National Teams of ice hockey

At the age of 15, Dans Lochmelis moved from Latvia to Sweden, where he now plays for the Luleå club system and already in the first season abroad, the 16-year-old forward managed to become the best sniper in the Sweden U16 Elite league.

How did you start playing hockey?

My father used to play hockey, and when I was two years old, he took me with him and I would skate on the ice skated. Once my dad and I went to eat at a cafe after his training, then the guys would trained on ice and I told my father that I also want to play hockey. This is how my hockey career began.

Why did you choose the forward position?

I don’t know why I chose the forward position, but I can say that I have not even tried to play other positions.

How did it happen that you moved to Sweden so early?

An agent called me and offered for me to try my hand in Sweden, where everything is high level and where the club pays for everything. I think that very few people would refuse this offer, so I went to Sweden.

Did you know Sandis Vilmanis before coming to Sweden?

Yes, I knew Sandis before going to Sweden, as we often played against each other. In the end, it turned out that the agent offered both of us to go to the same country and now we have become teammates.

What were your initial expectations from the first season in Sweden?

I really didn’t expect much. I just wanted to train and play at a high level.

Were you surprised that you managed to be one of best players and finish in the TOP-3 among scoring leaders?

Yes, I was surprised. I didn’t think that my debut season abroad would turn out this good.

Is it an achievement for you that you have already become captain of the national team for your age group?

I do not consider this an achievement, but being the captain is a great honor for me.

Rainers and Dans with Team Latvia U16

What is the difference between a captain and a regular player?

There is no big difference, but the captain, unlike an ordinary player, should be an example for the whole team.

Who do you consider the best Latvian hockey players?

Not to say that I have idols, but if I were to pick TOP 5 of the best Latvian players, it would look like this: Rudolf Balcers, Kaspars Daugavins,Theodor Blueger, Lauris Darzins and Miks Indrasis.

Was it a shame that in the end you did not manage to overtake your friend in points scored?

No, there was no such feeling. Hockey is a team sport. Basically I played with Sandis on the same line, so we helped each other score points.

You have already have been playing for Lulea U18 team this year. was it hard so abruptly to switch from one age category to another?

It was a little difficult. Faster hockey in U18, you have to make faster decisions, and this made the game more difficult and more interesting.

Are you ready to play fully in the U18 league?

Definitely, I’m ready.

Luleå plays in SHL. How soon do you think you and Sandis will debut in the top league?

I think Sandis and I can make our SHL debut, but definitely not this season.Of course, every hockey player would like to debut in adult hockey as fast as possible.

Did you follow the situation with Riga Dynamo?

Yes, and now I continue to follow the news about Riga Dynamo.

Next year, some of the games of the World ice hockey Championship should be held in Riga. Is this an important event for Latvia?

I think yes. This will be a great opportunity to see the NHL players and other top leagues. Latvia has the best fans, I think they can help national team in the fight for the title.

Did you manage to learn the language during your time in Sweden?

Now I know a little Swedish. I think that this was the hard part learning a new language for me when moving from Latvia to Sweden.

What was your most memorable moment in the 2019/20 season?

It was the moment when we reached the quarter finals. It’s a pity that due to COVID-19 we were unable continue the season. We had a good chance of winning it all.

What are your goals for the next season?

First of all, I would like to win the championship with Lulea U18 and then I would like to play for the U20 team.

How Slovak Vladimir Kurian became a Chilean hockey player

By IamVitoNesta – National Teams of Ice Hockey Blog @ Sports.ru

Vladimir Kurian – about his career, about life, about Chile at IIHF

Why did you choose hockey?

It was an easy choice for me, I still remember that moment. When I was 9, I watched the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer on TV. At the time, I knew nothing about hockey, as I spent most of my time taking piano lessons. My mother also played the piano, and I really enjoyed playing. But that day changed everything. For the first time I saw a game that I fell in love with instantly, with such players as Palffy, Stastny, Satan became a kind of example for me. That day we beat Canada 3: 1 and then I said to my father “I want to become a hockey player!” Everything turned out to be go great – we lived in Banska Bystrica, very close to the ice arena, and a school with a sports bias, and I was taken to hockey.

What made you move to Chile?

After a difficult period in my life in Slovakia, I wanted to start life from scratch. My parents died of cancer – my father died when I was 25, and my mother 5 years later. They were literally dying in front of my eyes, it was the most difficult period in my life and it was not easy to cope with it. At that moment I realized that I had to leave Slovakia for a while. The choice was between Canada and Chile, in Canada I lived for some time, and therefore I knew the language and I had several acquaintances there. But in Chile I had a friend whom we met in the USA, when I worked there in the “Work and travel” program. Subsequently, we traveled a lot around the America and once he came to me in Slovakia. In the end, I flew to Chile, I wanted to stay there for 3 months as a tourist. But during this time I fell in love with this country, people were friendly to me, and I felt that I can start my new life here. It took me some time to learn Spanish. Now in Chile I am an independent person, I have my own business, I discover new things for myself in this country, and I help to develop hockey in Chile.

How did you get into Chilean hockey?

 I have always loved hockey, but I had no idea that there is hockey in Chile. But when I found out about this, I looked on the Internet for something about hockey in the country, and found the club “Santiago Yeti”. I contacted the club, I was immediately answered and invited to the team. At that time, I was without equipment, so I had to borrow skates and a couple of golf clubs. The team believed that since I was from Slovakia, I was playing professionally, so I spent more and more time on the ice, and then I was offered to become a become a player coach.

Vladimir Kurian in his Chilian Jersey

Do you play for any club now?

No, at one time I played for my city in the junior league, there was no chance of a professional career, since this is more of a hobby than a job with which I would like to connect my life. But hockey is still important for me.

Did the Chilean national team fulfill their tasks at the Latam Cup?

 First of all, I want to say that I am proud to be a player of the Chilean national team and a part of Chilean hockey. I came here 4 years ago, received citizenship and residence, and was able to play for the Chilean national team. We have a lot of players who play passive hockey, but they try hard to improve their skills.

Latam Cup became a huge experience for us, we were able to assess our level, the level of other teams, players, and realized that we had a huge work ahead of us to improve the quality and level of play. If we return to your question, then yes, we are satisfied with the performance of our team, and this is an invaluable experience gained at the Latam Cup.

Latam Cup is a hockey tournament among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, held annually in Florida (ed.), And the Chile national team in the last tournament took 6th place out of 7.

After the Latam Cup, Colombia joined the IIHF, what are the plans for the future of hockey in Chile?

Yes, becoming a part of IIHF is a great honor both for Colombia and for Latin America in general. Congratulations to them, they deserve it, it shows that the level of hockey in Latin America is growing. But Chile is still far from the IIHF. Chile is a beginner in hockey, we don’t even have the right training for our athletes, but we are trying to move on. Our main goal is to create a development program and involve children in hockey. It is also necessary to create a federation in order to get the attention of the government and get some support, but this is not an easy task. In the meantime, you need to do basic things, spend more time on the ice, find financial support for the purchase of hockey equipment, support the school.

What do you do in your free time from hockey?

I work as a DJ and a music producer, I started my own business importing vegan products from Slovakia to Chile, so there is very little time left for hockey.

Do you play your music in the dressing room?

 Not really, I leave the choice to my partners. Electronic music is not as popular in Latin America as in Europe.

How many people attend your concerts?

At the moment I’m more of a music producer than a DJ. Because of the business, there is practically no time left to work as a DJ. Therefore, I enjoy music as a producer.

What Track do you Recommend?

I would recommend “The Awakening”, this track I composed in Chile, it describes my big change in life.

« Older posts