About the League
Press-conference attended by coaches and managers took place prior to the start of Parimatch Junior Hockey League regular season. Most of them spoke about their teams’ goals for the season. However, there were several unusual statements. We present you the most interesting quotes from the press-conference.
Andrei Shefer, head-coach
“We switched to a smaller ice surface in Cherepovets. I believe, we need to implement it throughout Junior Hockey League. So that the players would move on to KHL team ready to play at smaller rinks.”
Andrei Razin, Severstal Cherepovets head-coach
“Speaking of our interaction between Almaz and KHL team, nothing is going to change. If Almaz players are going to be at par with players of the first team, we’re going to give them advice and give them opportunities to prove their worth. Everything will remain just as it is right now. We have called up a lot of players in the past and the currently play for our KHL team.”
Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk
Anatoly Stepanov, head-coach
“It’s not that easy to get players – even young ones – to Russia’s Far East. After all, we are almost the most distant team. Despite that, we were able to recruit some players. We’ll see how local junior hockey school alumni, who haven’t gotten their feet wet in Junior Hockey League, are going to fare. We would like our players to show commitment so every opponent would respect us. Even if we lose, we should play every game in a way that would make the opposition crawl from the ice.”
Krasnaya Armiya Moscow
Rinat Khasanov, head-coach
“We have to understand what we work towards. We develop players for [VHL’s] Zvezda. We finalize their improvement. We do our best to work hand in hand with both - our VHL and KHL teams. But young players mustn’t be put into a mold. In order to develop properly, they should be allowed to use their creativity and their skills.
“Every team needs veterans and leaders. Developing young talent without advice by more experienced teammates. That’s the way it worked back in the Soviet times. CSKA [Moscow] would call up young players to add to their three experienced lines – [Sergei] Fedorov, [Pavel] Bure, [Alexander] Mogilny. They would become part to of the team and grow to be leaders.”
Dmitry Kramarenko, head-coach
“I don’t want to make boastful speeches. I believe, our team is ready to beat any opponent.”
Sergei Bazhukhin, head-coach
“Sometimes we are scheduled to have less time for recovery in between games. But there’s no point in complaining against the schedule. At the very least, we should make the playoffs and it would be great to go further than the first round.”
Igor Maslennikov, Lada Togliatti sports director
“We’re counting on Ladiya players. We had a look at almost two 5-man units at the camp and exhibition games. There are promising boys who could play for Lada in the future but it’s better for young players to develop on a good team. If we’re going to have a certain point-gap in VHL, we’re going to be able to gradually add young players to our roster.”
Vladimir Gromilin, head-coach
“As coaches, we are always dissatisfied with something. You always want to get better and better. So far, judging by the games we have seen, we’re certain that the team is ready to battle. We set the highest possible goal for ourselves – which is to make the playoffs. The boys want to develop and they have a great desire to make a step forward. Everything is going to depend entirely on us.”
Dmitry Gogolev, head-coach
“The intense summer heat affected the quality of our work. It worsened ice conditions and we had to practice in the fog. Right now we’re far from the level of play we want to show and the one our coaching staff is working towards. We’re going to keep working hard and persevere until New Year’s. That’s the point by which young player usually lose their fear of playing in Junior Hockey League. They improve their physical and mental conditions.
“There are plenty of examples when a player joins the league as an ‘ugly duckling’ and blossoms later on. Sometimes it’s vice versa – you think you’re dealing with a promising player but after a year or two he remains at the same level. I believe in this group. We’re going to develop them. It’s our direct responsibility because we have to develop players for professional hockey. Our whole team strives to make the playoffs. That’s where players develop faster and become stronger. We’re going to push our team forward, work hard, practice and never give up.”
Rishat Gimayev, HC Neftyanik Almetyevsk sports director
“We always pursue the goal of developing young players for our main team. We stick to our strategy of developing players from kids’ hockey for junior hockey and from then on for professional hockey. All there’s left to do is that the players prove by their play that they are worthy of roster spots on Sputnik or Neftyanik.”
Eduard Dmitriyev, head-coach
“Our minimal goal is to make the playoffs. From then on we’re going to do our best to go as deep as possible. It’s obvious that almost half of the team consists of young players. That’s what life in Junior Hockey League is like. The faster this group can develop, the better for them. That would mean that our work wasn’t in vain.”
Alexander Stepanov, head-coach
“Our brand of hockey is going to be aggressive and pass-based. There is no chance we’re going to play defensive-minded hockey. While I’m in charge we’re never going to be a punching bag of a team. No way! As our pre-season games have shown – we can stand up for ourselves.”
Sergei Yarovoy, head-coach
“Hockey players must love hockey – in their souls, in their heads and in their hearts. They have to dream big, carry their hearts on their sleeves and move towards their goal. They have to hit the ice wanting to play and not just skate around aimlessly. While on the ice they have to cherish every moment. Obviously, it’s a lot of hard work but it’s awesome to realize that you get stronger and better than those around you. Speed, skating, will and rush! You have to battle and fight in this league in every game. But we want to impose our brand of hockey. We want to create plays and makes crisp passes – which is something the fans adore.
“Collectively, as a team, we made several decision. First of all, we’re going to have #77 stickers on our helmets throughout the season. The club has already announced that. And, second of all, Faizutdinov’s jersey is going to be displayed in our dressing-room throughout the season. This season would have the last for Timur. And we believe that’s the right thing to do.”
Rustem Kamaletdinov, head-coach
“Moving to another town has been a positive change for our team. It’s a great motivation for the boys to prove their worth and share the same arena with the KHL team. We have to create a smooth transition from kids’ hockey to professional hockey. We already see that the new coaching staff of the first team led by Yuri Babenko scouts our young players. Several of them get called up to KHL and there is a certain rotation in place. Semyon Davydov, Kirill Steklov and Kirill Kondyrev are currently with the KHL team. They have to prove their worth up there. And I believe the move to this town has been a positive change for us.
“Our primary goal is to develop players for the first team. We also aim to make the playoffs every year and have a decent run there. So far we haven’t been able to do that. We usually start the season well and crumble towards the end.”
Artyom Anisimov, head-coach
“We enter the season with a rejuvenated roster. There are a lot of young guys in the dressing-room. This year there are just four returnees. We have seen at pre-season tournament how other teams are going to play against Irbis. But there was never a game in which we went down without a fight, nor there’s going to be one.”
Evgeny Korolyov, head-coach
“We’re going to aim to win every game and the least of our goals is to make the playoffs. And, obviously, we want to develop our players so that they would get more experienced and get better at some aspects. We try to make them play aggressive hockey, with good transition and lots of shots. Mentally-wise it’s very important to win so that the boys would believe in themselves.”