Rail Nasyrov was named the top goaltender of September in Junior Hockey League. In this interview to JHL media relations department he shares how Sputnik Almetyevsk coaching staff rewarded the team for putting together a winning streak, looked back at a bet his had made last year and invited his idol to a hockey game.
“I DON’T LISTEN TO MUSIC AT ALL PRIOR TO GAMES”
“It was my father who signed me up for a junior hockey school. I was four years old at the time,” says Nasyrov. “My uncle used to play hockey too back in a day. One day he brought me a puck from practice as a present. That’s how I got hooked on the sport. I wasn’t in any other sports growing up. I played just hockey. It was something I enjoyed.”
- How did you become a goaltender?
- When I was a kid I rooted for Ak Bars [Kazan]. I remember watching a game against Metallurg [Magnitogorsk] and the opposing team’s goaltender had a really gorgeous mask. I liked it so much that I decided right then and there that I would be a netminder, too. So I went to my parents and told them that I was going to be a goaltender. I believe, I must have been around ten years old when I began to realize that hockey is an important part of my life and that I wanted to make it my profession.
- Who do you like among modern day goaltenders?
- Obviously, it’s [VHL’s Neftyanik Almetyevsk goaltender] Adel Minegaliyev! His style is absolutely incredible! (laughs) I also like Russian goaltenders who play in NHL. I do my best to follow them.
- What was the most memorable even that happened to you in Junior Hockey League?
- It was my first shutout win at major junior level. It was in Junior Hockey League’s jubilee 10th season and we beat Tolpar [Ufa]. It was even more symbolic due to the fact that I got it on my mom’s birthday.
- Where would you be if it weren’t for hockey?
- I would probably gotten drafted by the military and then I would apply for special forces. By now I would be in Internal Affairs.
- What kind of music do you listen to get pumped for the games?
- The music is always different in our dressing-room. I’m a music fiend. The only thing that jumps from one playlist I make to the other is Mikhail Shufutinsky’s songs! Although, I don’t listen to music at all prior to games. I noticed that when I did listen to something prior to games we would lose. Now I stopped listening to anything before the games and we began winning. So on regular days I’m the one who is responsible for music in the dressing-room and on gameday it’s Bogdan Korotkov who becomes our DJ.
- Which celebrity would you want to invite to your games?
- My birthday is on September 3rd. So it would be hands down Mikhail Shufutinsky [who has a song by that name]! He’s my idol, I always listen to his songs! Mikhail Zakharovich I invite you to come to Sputnik games!
- What is your favorite videogame?
- I enjoy videogames by the studio Rockstar Games. GTA 5, for instance. My teammates and I often play soccer and hockey games. Timur Zakirov and Mikhail Fadeyev are the champions on our team. They are the true gods of virtual sports!
“CASH BONUSES FOR WINS? COACHES JUST GAVE US TWO DAYS OFF”
- Last season whoever was selected as the top player of the game by his Sputnik teammates would get a golden helmet.
- It just so happened that this season I was the first to receive the award. It was unexpected. After won of the games we won the coaches gave it to me. The whole idea belongs to our coaching staff. They came up with the tradition and repainted an old helmet golden. We present each other with the helmet after every game.
- Shortly before the start of the playoffs this spring you entire team made and usual bet with the head-coach.
- We were on the road when a few guys decided to make a bet with each other about making it to post-season. [Head-coach] Eduard Anatolyevich Dmitryev overheard the bet. He decided to get on the action and ante up the stakes. His conditions were as follows – should we make the playoffs, he would shave his hair off and if not, the whole team would do that. As a result, we missed the playoffs so everyone had to shave the hair off. I didn’t feel uncomfortable. I used to shave it all off anyway so I was used to that.
- Can you get hard on you teammates if they make mistakes?
- Usually I give advice on the ice and shout orders to my defensemen. They hear everything. But they don’t do anything (laughs).
- Sputnik Almetyevsk began the 2020-21 season with a long winning streak.
- We just went into every game with a winning mindset. We would take about the winning streak everyday. At first our goal was to put together ten consecutive wins and then we decided to go after setting a new record. In the end we managed to get eight wins in a row. The record would have to wait. Cash bonuses for wins? Coaches just gave us two days off!
- Over the course of the winning streak you beat Reaktor Nizhnekamsk and once Irbis Kazan as part of Tatarstan rivalries.
- We were preparing for the games as usual, there wasn’t anything special. Winning those games wasn’t special for me. We got two points just like we would for the win over any other opponent.