24.05.2022 в 13:00

“Four years in the JHL was a great time. Winning the Cup with Dynamo was the best moment.” Ivan Didkovsky about junior phase of his career

The forward talked about his JHL performance, the 2022 WJC and his hobbies.

Ivan Didkovsky was born in Novocherkassk, his first-ever skating experience was on the frozen lake in Kazakhstan, he played in Voronezh, and joined the Dynamo Moscow system at the age of 13. The forward played in the JHL and the VHL, and in the 2021/2022 season he scored his first goal for the main white-and-blue team. The forward went to Canada for the World Junior Championship, that was later canceled due to the pandemic.

In an interview with the JHL website, Ivan talked about the Dynamo Moscow system, winning the Cup with the junior team, and his emotions after the cancellation of the 2022 WJC. He told us about his cooking preferences, the importance of social networking and the book that had changed his way of thinking.

“My family didn’t understand how I could have a way of knowing about skates”

– How did hockey appear in your life?
– When I was three years old, I asked my parents to buy skates for me. My family didn’t understand how I could have a way of knowing about skates, because nobody was fond of hockey, and I myself do not even remember. My parents did what I asked for, they bought the skates and took me to my grandmother’s place by a lake in North Kazakhstan. At first, I had mixed feelings about skating, because nothing was working out. But during our stay at my grandparents’ place in the wintertime, I started to go to the lake on a regular basis and learned how to skate.

–And when did your parents decide to sign you up for hockey?
– They wanted to sign me up for soccer, because my dad played it as a child. We lived in Novocherkassk at that time, it is a city in the Rostov region, where you can play and kick the ball all year round. We tried to come to the soccer school office several times, but it was closed. Then I was offered to try playing hockey. A new ice rink was opened in the city, and I started practicing at the age of six.

– Why did you move to Voronezh?
– I was ten when Sergei Valeryevich Karyi came to the training camp in Novocherkassk. He coached Buran back then, it was a team of players born in 2001. Sergei Valeryevich noticed me and told my parents: “If you want your kid to try to achieve something in hockey, you need to go to a more hockey-oriented region.” He offered me to join his team, even though I was a year younger than the rest of the players. My family and I moved to Voronezh.

– How did you get to be with Dynamo Moscow?
– My Voronezh team came to a tournament in Novogorsk. Sergei Vladimirovich Suyarkov spotted me and invited to Dynamo tryouts. I was 13 years old, and I was up to the challenge. He offered me to stay and that was how we ended up in Moscow.

– Did your parents move too?
– Yes, both to Voronezh and then to Moscow. They follow me everywhere, even now they attend almost every game.

– How did you get adjusted?
– In terms of daily leaving, moving to such a big city felt kind of strange, it took me long to get adjusted. As for joining the team, I quickly found my place. I felt straight away that the level of hockey in the Moscow Championship was way higher, and the training process was different. The coaches were focusing on individual skills, there were a lot of battles. Dynamo has a more professional approach and the workload is higher.

– You have played at all levels of the club system. What are your impressions?
–Dynamo has a vertical structure for a player to move up starting from the sports school. While still playing for the school, I was called up to the JHL team. It was very helpful for my development: I was being trained and invited to play at a higher level, I was given a chance to prove myself. When I signed my first contract, I started to get VHL call-ups. Dynamo works well on young players’ development in order to prepare them for playing for the main team.

“The WJC left some loose ends”

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– How can you evaluate the 2021/2022 season?
– If we look at JHC Dynamo’s results, the season wasn’t as successful as the previous one, but there were roster changes. I am happy that I played a couple of games for the main team, scored a goal. I am glad that I went to Canada for the World Junior Championship - we managed to play several games before it was canceled.

– What are your emotions after the canceled tournament?
– It left some loose ends. We had a great team, from the coaching staff and the support staff on down to players. But it was a good time, I have only positive emotions from the WJC.

– How did you find out that you won’t be able to complete the tournament?
– We got tested for Covid every day before breakfast. That day we were supposed to play against Slovakia. I woke up, got tested, had my breakfast. The game was scheduled for that afternoon, so there were still a couple of hours to rest. Then they sent a note to the group chat saying that we would not play because someone was tested positive. We were told to stay in our room and not go anywhere. Several hours later, it was known that other teams also had players tested positive, so some more games would not be played. And later we were announced that the championship was cancelled.

– What did you feel at that moment?
– This championship is a lifetime experience, only few players manage to participate in it several times. At first, I got upset, but then I rallied my thoughts. Whatever happens is for the best.  Perhaps, the future holds something even better for me.

– You played four seasons in the JHL. How was it?
– I matured a lot. I was making progress thanks largely to the league, because the majority of games played in four years were JHL ones. Four years in the JHL was a great time that I will have the best memories of.

– How has the league changing?
– When I came to the JHL after the sports school, there was no limit on 20-year-old players. It was harder for young players, especially when everyone in the team was three or four years older. The JHL has become younger, it is easier for guys to blend into a team. Every year it became easier and easier to play: I was maturing, getting stronger physically, gaining experience.

– What are the most memorable moments of your career in the JHL?
– Winning the Cup with Dynamo in the 2020/2021 season was the best moment. The second most memorable moment is scoring my first goals. I broke the goal drought by scoring two in the game against Chaika. And the third best moment was scoring the first goal in the championship-winning game. It was the best goal in my career and I’m happy it helped us to win

– How do you usually get ready for games?
–Game days are just like regular days for me, I do not go into shell, on the contrary, I talk to everyone. I don’t think about the game as a very important event - so as to avoid burnout. My performance is better when I hit the ice in a good mood and make many jokes. I feel excited before important games, but that's normal. Everything goes away when the puck hits the ice.

– Are there any special things you do when you are getting ready for a game?
– I usually put on my skates and gear left to right, but it’s my habit, not a ritual. If I do something different, no tragedy will occur.

– Who are your favorite hockey players?
– It is hard to single out a particular player, I follow the world’s best players and try to learn something from them. I admire Alexander Ovechkin’s shot and Connor McDavid’s speed. Throughout all the years with Dynamo, I followed Vadim Shipachyov. He is a true master. I consider him to be the best player in Russia. I also like Dmitrij Jaskin. He is able to score from any position.

“Dynamo has great fans”

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– You mentioned once that you read the “The Richest Man in Babylon” – the book about saving money. What did you learn from it?
– It is an interesting book that affected my mind, I recommend reading it. I used to buy things given half a chance to do it. And now I think before buying something to see whether I really need it or not. Often it turns out that I don’t. So, the book helped me to spend less (laughing). Now I'm being lazy and don’t read anything at the moment. I am not a big fan of books, but I understand that reading is necessary and useful. The main thing is to find an interesting book, and you can read it in one breath.

– You are active on social media. Is it important for an athlete these days?
– I was not that active on social media in the 2021/2022 season. When we became champions, I made videos and posted them on different platforms. Today everything has much to do with social media, fans want to know what players do, what their preferences are when they are not at the rink. If an athlete is interested in social media and has time for it, that's good.

– Do you communicate with fans on the Internet?
– I do. Dynamo has great fans. They send me messages after each game – to congratulate on a win or to support after a loss. Different things happened, some people used obscene language, but these were isolated incidents. I don't pay attention to them.

– Do you like being filmed and interviewed?
– I’m cool to it. If the press office asks to participate in something, I try to help. They do their job, and supporting the players is a part of it. So, I always participate whenever possible.

– You have posted several recipes. Do you like cooking?
– I started doing it during the quarantine due to the pandemic. Today cooking is easy: everything is available on the Internet, you don’t need to ask anybody for a recipe. You only need to have something to cook on and from. Look for a recipe to your liking and that's it. I like barbeque and grilled river trout. But the most favorite dish of mine is whatever made by mother's hand.

– What do you do in your free time?
– When I’m on vacation, I like to ride a bicycle, go into the mountains or to the sea - I prefer outdoor activities. When I have some free time during the season, I just want to lie down. If I have a day off, I spend it with my parents or my girlfriend.

– How do you plan to get rested?
– I got rested already. I spent a couple of weeks at home, saw my relatives. I try to spend more time with my family, because I don’t get to see my parents very often during the season, and I don’t see the rest of my family at all. I already came to the sea and started working out and preparing for the season.

Ksenia Goryunova