About the League
Matvei Michkov is the most discussed Russian hockey player born in 2004 right now. He made his Junior Hockey League debut at the age of 15. Despite being incredibly young he took the reins of the tournament right away. Michkov turned 16 in December and since then the SKA-1946 St. Petersburg forward has beaten Nikita Kucherov’s records in goals and points among players under 17. He also led the regular season in goals and became the youngest player to top Junior Hockey Leauge in that department. In late April and early May Michkov was named the most valuable player of the 2021 U18 IIHF World Championship.
From June 5th to June 28th Your Chance Program, co-organized by Junior Hockey League and Sirius Educational Center, will be held in Sochi, Russia. It will be attended by players who born exactly in 2004. For those who haven’t been as fortunate as Michkov, Your Chance program can be attended by those junior hockey school alumni who currently don’t have active contracts or offers from Junior Hockey League and NJHL clubs. For these young athletes Your Chance program is an opportunity to prove their worth and ink their first professional deal with a Junior Hockey League club.
Last year seven out of fifty Your Chance program participants signed deals with Junior Hockey League teams. Two of them – Daniel Usmanov (JHC Spartak Moscow) and Roman Daryin (JHC Atlant Moscow Region) participated in the 2021 Kharlamov Cup Playoffs.
Among the 50 players, who will attend camp and play exhibition games at Sirius facilities, there are those who even played for the same team Matvei Michkov when they were children. We put together a Top-5 list of those hockey players who have a chance to sign their first professional contract.
5. Emil Salnikov, 17 years old, defenseman
Statistics: 263 games, 163 points, 76 goals, 87 assists.
Junior hockey school: Rus Moscow
Emil Salnikov is Rus Moscow junior hockey school alumnus. This offensive-minded defenseman spent his entire career on the Moscow Region team, competing in the elite tier of Moscow championship against CSKA Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Spartak Moscow, Krylia Sovetov Moscow and other top teams. Salnikov scored 9 goals and notched 11 assists for 20 points in 20 games last season.
In the 2019-20 season he made the cut for Team Moscow and participated in Federal Regions Championship. Salnikov’s team won bronze medals, finishing behind only Central Federal Region and Ural. Salnikov scored two points in four games.
As a member of Team Rus the defenseman won Moscow Championship bronze medals and also was a runner-up for Moscow Cup.
Salnikov is the only defenseman on our Top-5 list. Despite his position, the hockey player has a skillset of a forward. Point in case – Salnikov broke lose shorthanded, skated down the length of the rink and beat the goaltender.
Statistics: 268 games, 287 points, 138 goals, 149 assists
Junior hockey school: Atlant Mytischi
Ilya Podgornov spent his entire career within Atlant Mytischi system. Last season he played 31 games, scoring 8 goals and notching 27 assists for a total of 35 points. Mytischi has competed in Moscow championship top tier for several years now.
Podgornov has won gold at Moscow Region Championship and also won Moscow Region Cup. Last season he finished among Top-5 players on Atlant in scoring. And here’s an example of how he scores goals.
Statistics: 300 games, 104 points, 46 goals, 58 assists
Junior hockey school: Dynamo St. Petersburg
This representative of St. Petersburg hockey kicks off our Top-3. Artyom Starshinov spent his entire career competing in St. Petersburg championship and won the tournament three times. His last championship title came in the 2019-20 season. Dynamo came in first in the city championship, while Starshinov scored five goals and added nine assists for a total of 14 points in 30 games.
Last season Starshinov played 40 games in St. Petersburg championship, scoring 13 goals and notching 20 assists for a total of 33 points. In the early May the forward played five games in Russian Championship Finals. As a member of Dynamo St. Petersburg Starshinov won bronze medals at the tournament but didn’t register any points.
In the 2017-18 season Starshinov came in second in the finals of All-Russia Winter Spartakiade. The hockey player has an accurate shot and is good at positioning, which allows him to be productive.
2. Mikhail Zumberg, 16 years old, forward
Statistics: 392 games, 455 points, 285 goals, 170 assists.
Junior hockey school: Dynamo Forward St. Petersburg
Yet another forward from the banks of Neva river. In the 2020-21 season Mikhail Zumberg played 26 games, scoring 18 goals and notching 14 assists for a total of 32 points.
Zumberg has also won a gold medal at St. Petersburg Championship and won St. Petersburg Cup. In the 2017-18 season he came in second as a member of Dynamo St. Petersburg in the finals of All-Russia Winter Spartakiade. In the final game the blue-and-white lost to CSKA Moscow 4-2. Mikhail Zumberg played six games at the tournament and scored three points.
Aside from that, in the 2013-14 season Zumberg played for Serebryanye Lvy. The team came in second at Maxim Sushinsky Cup and won Ledyanoy Cup with his peer Matvei Michkov. Michkov combined for 24 goals and 6 assists over the two tournaments. He also topped Ledyanoy Cup in scoring with 17 goals and five assists for 22 points in nine games.
Zumberg has a knack for scoring beautiful goals. Here’s an example. He picks up the puck next to his net, delivers it single-handedly to the offensive zone and snipes it home.
Arkady Zubert is one of the most productive representatives of St. Petersburg Championship. In the 2020-21 season he managed to score 41 goals and notch 51 assists for a total of 92 points in just 38 games. That propelled him to the top of the league’s list of scorers. Notably, SKA St. Petersburg, Dynamo St. Petersburg, Dinamo-Yunior St. Petersburg and other top teams compete at the tournament. Among players who were one year his major Zubert made a name for himself with his play and consist productivity. In 25 games he had 22 goals, 19 assists and 41 points.
Zubert has won St. Petersburg Championship on multiple occasions and won St. Petersburg Cup several times. Aside from that, he had a chance to compete in Russian Championship Finals two times. In the 2016-17 season he won silver medals as a member of SKA St. Petersburg. In the 2017-18 season he came in seventh with the ‘army men’. Zubert also was on the same Serebryanye Lvy team with Zumberg and Michkov. He even almost caught up to Michkov at Maxum Sushinsky Cup scoring – while the latter had 7 goals and an assist for 8 points, Zubert had four goals and two helpers for six points.
This video explain why we put Zubert on top of our list. He steals the puck in the neutral zone, beats two defensemen and makes it look easy as he beats the goaltender.