A bronze medal with Irbis, VHL appearances and the first goal for Ak Bars. An eventful season for 19-year-old Dmitry Katelevsky

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19.05.2022 в 13:00

A bronze medal with Irbis, VHL appearances and the first goal for Ak Bars. An eventful season for 19-year-old Dmitry Katelevsky

The Kazan forward played in three leagues and competed for the Russian national team.

Dmitry Katelevsky has been within the Ak Bars Kazan system since the age of seven. The 2021/2022 season was the most successful for the forward. He played in the regular season and in the playoffs of VHL, KHL and JHL. Dmitry has already spent two seasons with Bars. He was called up by Ak Bars for 15 KHL games. In September 2021 he was a backup goalie for one game, and in March 2022 he scored his first goal for Ak Bars to tie game against Avangard in the first round of playoffs.

Both senior Kazan teams got eliminated from playoffs, and the forward joined Irbis to win bronze medals. When the season was over for the club, Dmitry played for the youth team at the tournament in St. Petersburg and he will participate in the Black Sea Cup, which is to be held from May 25 to May 30. In an interview with the official JHL website, the Kazan forward shared his emotions from the season and the experience of playing in the Ak Bars system, talked about his sporting family, moving from Orenburg, and how he will recuperate after a busy season.

“The coach told my parents “It's a good thing that you signed your kid up for hockey”

– How did you start playing hockey?
– I have a sporting family: my dad is a master of sports in swimming, my elder sister used to do figure skating. I started skating at the age of three together with her. Then my father took me to a hockey game. I fell in love with this spectator sport and got a craving for playing it, so my parents brought me to a hockey school. The coach told them "It's a good thing that you signed your kid up for hockey." It started to click right away, I always enjoyed practices. Since then, hockey has been my life. I played in Orenburg until the age of seven, and then I joined Ak Bars Kazan system.

– Why did you move from Orenburg to Kazan?
– Kazan is my grandfather's hometown, and we also had some other relatives living there. My parents made a decision to move here. So, I went to Ak Bars hockey school for tryouts, and they put me on the team.

– Do you consider yourself a Kazan trainee or an Orenburg one?
– A Kazan one. It is where I’ve learned so much, we had a very good coach. He put me at center, I was a winger before. Kazan hockey school is one of the country’s best. They do everything to ensure young players development. There is a unified system in place, all teams have the same style of play. Ak Bars has become the second family for me. The capital of the Republic of Tatarstan has a special atmosphere and the best fans.

“I got scared when I first saw the puck flying towards me”

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– During the 2021/2022 season, you played in the regular season and in the playoffs of VHL, KHL and JHL. Has this been the most successful year in your career so far?
– I think so. I appreciate that the coaches of all the teams put trust in me and gave me a chance to play regular season games and playoff games. I managed to record my first KHL goal - my partners helped me score a game-tying goal against Avangard. It is the most memorable goal of the season for me. Too bad that neither Ak Bars nor Bars advanced to the next round. Then I centered my hopes on the JHL team. I played with Semyon Terekhov and Kirill Mukhin in the VHL, so we had good chemistry and everything worked out well. It is nice that we managed to win bronze medals with Irbis – it’s a great experience.

– What was the team lacking in the series against SKA-1946?
– It was a great series, five games played - this is all you need for semi-finals. We were lacking skills. I tried to help my team create more offence and be solid on defense, but I didn’t score any points. It was a good season, but I could have done better. I will try my best next year.

– How do you overcome failures?
– I try to move on. Losing is always disappointing, but you need to analyze your actions, to understand what you did wrong. You need to talk to the coach - he will point out the mistakes and give recommendations. And most importantly - you need to go out on the ice in a good mood and go full force.

– What games were carrying the most powerful emotional charge?
– The playoff games are the most emotional ones in any league. The atmosphere is always great. The level of games in the KHL and the VHL is almost the same – more battles and individual skills. JHL players skate a lot and they are always charged-up. In playoffs you don’t fight for your own results, you fight for your team. Every single game is important and they require a lot of emotion.

– You have been playing in the VHL since the age of 17. What helped you to consolidate yourself in the league?
– This was made possible by the coaches who had given me a chance. Then everything depended on me: I proved myself and was able to consolidate my position in the roster. Playing two seasons in the VHL is a great experience. I am gaining confidence every year. I watch my own and other player's games to analyze actions. It helps better understanding of the game when you hit the ice.

– Once you were dressed as the Ak Bars backup goalie. How did you like it?
– It was an interesting situation. We came to Finland to play against Jokerit. Due to the pandemic, they had their own quarantine rules, and several of our players including two goalies were prohibited from playing. But we were told that we still had to play with a roster of whoever was left. The coaching staff decided to dress me as a backup goalie. You need to be able to play different positions. It didn’t actually generate any undue stress, I was as excited and worried as before any other game. And when that game started, I tried to help my team on the bench.

– If you had to play, what would you do?
– I would give it my all – I’d jump, I’d sacrifice myself to stop shots. I would do everything in order to prevent the opponent from scoring.

– Did you participate in pre-game skate?
– Yes, I replaced Igor Bobkov. I got scared when I first saw the puck flying towards me, I even closed my eyes. Then I realized that the gear was highly protective and tried to react to shots.

“Lying on the bed is not for me, I prefer outdoor activities”

– You played for the youth team at the tournament in St. Petersburg. Describe your emotions.
– It was a good tournament, I gained experience of playing for the national team. Even though we lost two games, I still have positive emotion. My season is not over yet - I will participate in the Black Sea Cup. I have enough energy to play until the end of spring - that's good.

– How will you recuperate after a busy season?
– I haven’t thought about it yet, I don’t have any great plans. I need to get rested in the space of a month and gather strength for the next season. But lying on the bed is not for me, I prefer outdoor activities. I spend my free time playing basketball, soccer and volleyball. I also watch broadcasts of different competitions. I love all sports.

– Do you follow the Ice Hockey World Championship?
– Of course. It is important to see other teams playing. I watch the games all the way through, and I also watch highlights when I can. The Russian national team doesn’t participate this year, so I’m rooting for great hockey in general.

– What famous hockey players do you model yourself after?
– Pavel Datsyuk – the best center. He has great face-off winning percentage, he plays with his heart. I also follow Alexander Ovechkin – the way he plays and takes powerful and accurate shots.


Ksenia Goryunova

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