The Krasnaya Armiya defenseman coming from a dynasty of hockey players decided on hockey when he had his choice between boxing and playing hockey.
Artyom Barabosha was born into a sporting family: his grandfather and his uncle are hockey players, and his dad is a boxer. A native of Omsk, he practiced both sports, but set his heart upon hockey after his first children's tournament. Boxing became a hobby for the defenseman and he still practices it.
Barabosha has been a CSKA system player since 2015. He made his JHL debut with Krasnaya Armiya in the 2020/2021 season, and played for the team in the 2021/2022 Kharlamov Cup finals. Artyom appeared in 81 games, scored four goals and was credited with ten assists in the space of two years in the JHL. But points are not the primary reason for the player having Rinat Khasanov’s confidence. The tenacious D-man does not avoid doing the grunt work, he battles along boards with great spirit, and he was ranked first among the army team players in the 2021/2022 season in terms of the number of bodychecks (50). In the 2022 offseason, 18-year-old Artyom is training with the main team - the championship winning CSKA. In an interview with the JHL website, the young defenseman talked about the 2021/2022 season, the preparation for the upcoming season, the 2022 draft and his passion for playing the guitar.
– Why did you start playing hockey?
– It was my grandfather who signed me up for hockey. He used to play it too, but at that time there was no Avangard in Omsk, the team was called Shinnik. My uncle played at the junior level and in the SHL. But hockey is not the only sport for my family. My dad is a boxer, he obtained a higher education related to it. He signed me up for boxing, so initially I was practicing both sports. Then I made it to my first hockey tournament and set my heart upon hockey. I realized that it was where I belonged. But I continued to box, now I train when I have some free time or days off. Such skills may come in handy to a hockey player.
– What would you be doing if your hockey career did not take shape?
– I’ve never thought about it. I do not see myself as anybody else, I never had a desire to quit hockey. But if it didn’t work out, I think I would try my hand at martial arts.
– What is your attitude to fights?
– Standing up for yourself or for a teammate is normal. A good fight at the right moment improves the emotional background. But you can’t fight for no reason, you need to be smart. I manage to keep my temper in check, because I don’t want to let my team down.
– Why did you move to the CSKA system before the 2015/2016 season?
– A CSKA coach called my dad after the Gazprom Neft Cup and offered to join their team. My father thought hard and said no at first, but then he decided that we would give it a try. I was at the training camp with Avangard and did not know I would be moving. When my dad gave an OK, we went to Moscow, and I continued training with CSKA.
– What differences did you notice in the new school?
– The training process was pretty much the same. Except for Avangard paying less attention to running. At first, I was strange to it, but got adjusted with the passing of time.
– How did you adapt to new conditions?
– It was tough at the beginning: a different city, I did not know where to go and with whom. But then I got adjusted, made friends with teammates. The club found a job for my dad, provided housing, so we lived together. Then my father rented an apartment, and my mother and sister moved to Moscow.
– How did you manage to balance hockey with school?
– It was hard to balance practices with lessons. I missed school because of games, had to ask teachers to let me complete missed assignments. I was not an A student, B’s and C's were the most common grades of mine. I liked biology, studied it at home in addition to school classes, and I always knew that English is important in sports. I'm at an intermediate level and I need to improve my English.
– Did you complete Grade 9 or 11?
– I completed Grade 9 and entered the Yaroslavl State School of the Olympic Reserve. It is a great educational institution for athletes: remote learning, possibility to resit exams. We are taking online classes and come to Yaroslavl for examination periods: they provide a room for a week, and I can stay there and prepare for exams, without being distracted by anything.
– The 2021/2022 season was your second year in the JHL. What has changed over a year?
– When I made it to the JHL, I knew instantly that I am to play with the big boys: higher speeds, different way of thinking. The guys were giving me pointers on some nuances, I was getting used to playing JHL games. By the start of the 2021/2022 season, I got adjusted and was on firm ground. I was getting more ice time. Trust is worth much, but you always have to follow the instructions of the coach, work hard and try to improve your game.
– What was the 2021/2022 season like for you?
– It was very emotional, especially when it came to my first JHL playoffs. Everything was not the same as in the regular season: we all supported one another, blocked shots. There were no conflicts, everyone went all out for the team. The emotional background is very important in such games.
– What did Krasnaya Armiya lack to become the champion?
– We lacked playoff experience. There were many young players on the team who, like me, have never played playoff games before. SKA-1946 had experienced players, some of them had appeared in Kontinental Hockey League playoff games. We could have won, but the odds were against us.
– How do you prepare for games?
– I don't have any special rituals. I know that some players don't talk to anyone before games or only talk to one person. I take it easy, but I try to prepare alone so as not to waste my emotional energy, as it can come in handy during the game.
– Are you the same person on and off the ice?
– Totally different. When I play hockey, emotions run high and can influence my behavior, but I am a calm person in real life. Well, it’s not easy to put me out of temper on the ice - it is an important factor for a hockey player. You have to always play smart. If you freak out and hit somebody, you take a penalty and your team might allow a goal and lose. My dad and granddad taught me from a young age that I shouldn’t show my emotions in suchlike situations.
– How do you react to defeats?
– I think they shall be treated adequately. Losing is tough, but you need to learn from that, play calmly, try to correct your mistakes and win.
– You participate in training camp for the main team – CSKA. How is the atmosphere?
– It’s my first training camp with CSKA. The team is great, we all deal on an equal basis regardless of the status. CSKA players are more experienced, they are highly skilled, make quicker decisions. It makes things harder for me, but I am starting to think faster too. Nothing else seems new to me. All the players try to do their best and improve some components of their game before the start of the season.
– Which player gives valuable advice?
– I haven’t been given any pieces of advice yet. Coaches gave me some pointers. But this is my first training camp, I think I still have everything ahead of me and I will gain experience from the best ones. It is a great pleasure to watch people who have won the Gagarin Cup. I watch how they work and give it their all despite their status. Everyone should always strive for the best.
– Who are the defensemen you look up to?
– There are a lot of such players, but I will name Nikita Zadorov. He is a big physical D-man capable of standing up for his team and fighting when needed. Such style appeals to me.
– In July you were drafted by the New Jersey Devils. Did you follow the 2022 draft?
– Of course, my whole family were watching it. I wanted to see which Russian players would be picked – it was of great interest. I was very surprised and glad that I was drafted, even though I was a late-round pick. Team representatives called me right away and congratulated.
– Where you worried?
– Yes, but I knew that not being drafted did not mean the end of my career. You still need to keep working on yourself and developing. But when they called my name, I breathed a sigh of relief. My family, relatives and friends started congratulating me, it was very nice.
– How did you spend your vacation?
– I went to my native city, Omsk, visited my grandparents and longtime friends. The city is being developed, many new buildings have been constructed. When walking with friends, I constantly asked: “What is this?”. The city looks nicer. I feel good there, I feel completely comfortable and nostalgic for my childhood.
– What do you usually do in your free time?
– Rest, physical and mental recharge are very important. At the same time, you need to stay in good shape and stay focused. I don’t like being stuck indoors, I prefer going for a walk, it helps clear my head. Communication and fresh air are crucial for recouping strength. I often walk in parks with my friends, go to downtown Moscow, sometimes I manage to spend some time in the countryside.
– What is your hobby?
– I am teaching myself guitar. My dad wanted to learn guitar and bought one. I decided to give it a shot too. Playing an instrument in my free time is better than being glued to the phone. It is pretty easy these days: start a video tutorial and practice. If you enjoy it, you’ll be patient enough. When you start doing better, you derive great satisfaction at the progress.
– Have you learned any songs on guitar?
– Yes, I’ve learned the classics – Kino’s Vosmiklassnitsa, Korol i Shut’s Kukla Kolduna. When I memorized chords, it became easier to learn songs. But there are songs with difficult rhythm, for example, Aria’s Shtil. It’s easy to play it, but it's hard not to mistime when singing.
Barabosha Artyom Vitalevich
Born on March 18, 2004 in Omsk
2011-2015 – Avangard, Omsk
From 2016 – CSKA, Moscow
Hlinka Gretzky Cup winner, the 2021/2022 season
Silver medal at JHL championship, the 2021/2022 season