The forward of the Chelyabinsk team had a preseason with Traktor.
Mikhail Goryunov-Rolgizer is a Chelyabinsk hockey trainee. The young forward is having his third year playing for three teams of the club system: Belye Medvedi, Chelmet and Traktor. In the 2021/2022 season, the forward appeared in five JHL games and scored 3 (2+1) points. In total, he played 82 games for Belye Medvedi and collected 31 (16+15) points. In the summer, Mikhail was Traktor’s training camp participant and he expects to become a full-time player of the team.
In an interview with the official JHL website, the forward talked about his first steps in hockey, boxing training, minor-to-junior transition, training camp with Anvar Gatiyatulin and his double-barrelled name.
– You have spent the preseason with Traktor. What does Anvar Gatiyatulin focus on?
– The first week was for us to get into the groove, we were working mainly on skating. After that, we were focusing on conditioning and endurance. Before the tournament in Magnitogorsk, we were putting more time into tactics and working on special teams.
– Anvar Rafailovich comes across as a very calm and reasonable person. Is he like that with players?
– Yes, he is a true professional. He is always calm, but at the same time it is obvious that he lives through all the moments together with the team. He is the same person both behind the bench and with us on non-game days. However, he can get team’s juices flowing, sometimes he raises his voice.
– Does he raise his voice at young players more often?
– No, he treats everybody in the same way. There is no division into young and older players. It's just that young players need more pointers on tactics during training process.
– How did you prepare in the summer before the training camp with the team?
– The season was over for us when we got eliminated from the playoffs. I rested for about ten days, then I played at Victory Cup, the Chelyabinsk tournament at Traktor Arena. The guys who also play in the KHL were there. It was a tournament without checks and serious battles – just for us to skate and have fun. After that, I rested for another two weeks and started training. Our conditioning coach sent us the plan – and on May 16 we started working out in a gym by ourselves. In June, I practiced at Iceberg Arena with Oleg Pridannikov and Vyacheslav Karavdin. Then I started practicing with the team.
– What components did you work on in the summer?
– I try to improve everything, there is no limit to perfection. I was working on skating, physicality, shots, dribbling, stickhandling.
– And did the coaches give advice on what needs to be improved? Maybe to gain muscle mass?
– Nothing that specific. We didn't talk about muscle mass. The players themselves understand what needs to be done. The KHL is a professional level, after all.
– At the preseason tournaments you played on the line with Maxim Shabanov and Vladimir Tkachyov. It looked like you’ve built a good chemistry.
– Vova and Maxim are professionals. They both know what to do on the ice. I have to get open more. Send a pass - get open, send a pass - get open. The rest takes care of itself. Everyone does their job. Together this leads to a good result.
– Is Vladimir a mentor for you?
– He is more like an elder brother to me. We are on the same page. I ask them about something, they give some pointers. We try to get open, to help one another. One rushes forward, the other runs supporting action.
– Does Tkachyov grumble at young players?
– No, it never happened. He really is like an elder brother. Only suggests things and helps.
– What is the most difficult thing for you at the senior level?
– I haven’t played that many games in the KHL. The main thing that I feel is that I need to think faster and make quicker decisions on the ice. In the KHL, you don’t get much time with the puck to look for what to do next. You have to keep moving, you can't stop. The faster you make decisions, the better. If you are without the puck, then you need to know where it will be in order to choose a better position. While the puck is on its way to you, you should already know what to do with it next. You have to think fast.
– Do you remember taking a hard check and realizing the level of the KHL?
– I haven’t taken such checks. There have been some unpleasant moments, but it’s hockey. Sometimes you check and sometimes an opponent does. Everyone should be ready for this. That’s what we work out in the gym and practice on the ice for. During practices, Anvar Rafailovich always tells us not to do a disservice to one another. If it is possible to push, we push, but without violating rules or roughing.
– You have been playing for three teams for the third year. Is it hard?
– Partly yes. On the other hand, we have one system. Three teams play similar hockey. In 2021, I missed the preseason due to an injury. It felt like I lacked physicality. Playing for three teams allowed me to gain some experience that will help in the future.
– There has been a lot of talk about the need for Chelmet as a farm team based in Chelyabinsk. Is it more convenient for a player when three teams are in the same city?
– Absolutely. I see no reason to argue whether Chelmet is needed or not, because it is needed! The Supreme Hockey League helps move up the tiers from junior hockey to the KHL. It is convenient that the team is in Chelyabinsk. There were some interesting moments in the 2021/2022 season. I could wake up in the morning at the base with Chelmet before the game, and then go to Traktor for a pregame skate. There was another case. At 13:00 I was supposed to play for Chelmet, and Traktor was to play against Sibir at 19:00 on the same day. At a warm-up with 20-30 minutes to go before going on the ice, I was told: “The warm-up is over, you are going to play for Traktor”. I showered, packed my gear and went there.
– Did you make it to the game?
– Yes. I had lunch, had a nap, then went to the game.
– Do you remember your first game for Traktor?
– I surely do. The call-up to the main team was a huge surprise. Words cannot express what I felt when I hit the ice to play for Traktor. I've been waiting for this moment since I was a kid. Just a couple of years ago, I used to run home after school, have lunch and go to the rink to watch the team playing. And being told that the next day I was to play for Traktor was incredible!
– How did the minor-to-junior transition go for you?
– After finishing school, 10-12 guys were called up to the JHL team. I signed the contract right away, spent the preseason with the team. Then I was sent to the U18 League and spent September and October playing there. Then I played two games in the JHL, went on the road trip with the team and returned to the U18 League. In December, I started playing more for Belye Medvedi and stayed with the team. I did feel the difference, that’s for sure, but I tried not to pay attention to it. There are tasks and coaches want you to complete them and play for the team’s result. If you don’t do your job, you will not be with the team.
– Were you worked up about missing games due to sickness in the 2021/2022 season?
– I was at first. Then I thought the things over and became calmer. It is what it is. My time will come - and I will use the chance. But again, the time at Traktor helped me a lot. I watched the guys, listened to the coaches. Got solid experience.
– What components have you become stronger in?
– Mentality, conditioning. I became calmer in game moments, I adapt better to tactics. Got a lot of useful tactical information. I got something valuable from everyone who was on the team.
– What will you consider as a success this season?
– My goal is to become a full-time player of Traktor and contribute to the success of the team. Play to the best of my ability, reach a new level and help the team achieve results.
– Will you be able to score ten goals?
– It’s personal stats. I will do my best. We have a long season ahead of us. But the main thing is for the team to accomplish the goal. I will do everything that depends on me.
– Your dad talked about signing you up for hockey when you were less than three years old. Do you remember that moment?
– I was two years and eight months old when I went out on ice for the first time. I joined Traktor school at the age of three. Konstantin Mikhailovich Shtrakhov, the current goalie coach of Chelmet, worked with school goalies back then. He was leading practices for kids from three to five years old - for those who were still using skating aids. When I joined Chelmet, we recalled my first steps in hockey. He taught me how to skate. It makes him my first coach. And now I am at a new stage of my career - and we are together again. Those are nice memories.
– Did you start liking hockey from the very beginning?
– To be honest, I don’t remember. My parents told me that I used to cry and did not want to practice. When I got older, I started enjoying it.
– Did you decide to become a forward right away?
– Yes, the coach put me on offence. In all the teams, I was the smallest guy, even when I joined the JHL. After Konstantin Mikhailovich’s group, I moved to the next one – coached by Viktor Mikhailovich Peregudov. He taught us stickhandling, shooting. Before the first grade, Ravil Ramazanovich Khuzhin came to work with us. He selected us for the team after Viktor Mikhailovich, because Peregudov had around 100 trainees.
– Wow, that many?
– Yes, like sardines in a can. All the kids were practicing on the ice that was less than half the size of a standard one. My dad told me that three age groups were skating together - from 2000 to 2002. Ravil Ramazanovich selected three groups of 20 players each, Viktor Nikolayevich Vetshev became our coach, and Igor Stanislavovich Shadrin was his assistant, he worked with us for all 11 years, from the first grade to graduation. And over these 11 years, he became a second father to us. After the fifth grade, Alexander Stepanovich Glazkov became our head coach. Coached by him, we won silver and bronze medals of the Russian championship among the 2002 age group. Alexander Stepanovich built a very close-knit team. We were like a family during the last two years before graduation. And Alexander Stepanovich and Igor Stanislavovich were like parents to us. We still keep in touch. We text and call one another. I try to visit Traktor school and see them every month. I am very grateful to all my coaches!
– Was there a player you looked up to when you were a child?
– I didn’t have a world-class idol, such as Ovechkin or Kuznetsov. Of course, I followed them. But it does not mean that I taped my stick like Kuznetsov did, or tried to copy Ovechkin's slap shot. When I was at school, I followed Valeri Nichushkin and Vitaly Abramov. Abramov was not tall, but he was fast – he reminded me of myself in a way. I continued following him when he moved to North America. We played together for Traktor in the 2021/2022 season, I tried to learn from him. I am so happy that he won the Gagarin Cup.
– Your dad played hockey when he was a child. Did he teach you something?
– Yes, I used to live in the village of Churilovo outside the city, there was a local school there. We used to go to the skating rink and practice there. My dad made a shooting zone on a waste ground near our house, some of his friends welded the goal. My dad bought a panel the buildings are constructed with, and used it for that shooting area. The goal was there for three years, every summer I practiced shooting there. People were wondering what I was doing there. A waste ground and some drizzle comes there with a stick. There was a hockey coach at the school where I studied until the sixth grade, who used to train with Georgi Gelashvili. I often skated with the school team in winter. And I skated with my dad too: he was both sending passes and playing defense.
– Can you recall any funny story from school?
– I was boxing from the first to the fourth grade. In the morning, I had to ride in a minibus for 20 minutes to get to the boxing club in the city. Then I returned to school, and after that – went to the ice at 19:30. Managed to balance boxing and hockey. I always took my skates, gloves and stick home. Didn't want to leave them in the locker room. I carried the same backpack to boxing and hockey practices. In the morning I used to put a T-shirt, boxing gloves and sneakers in it and go to the boxing club. And after school, I used to put my skates in the same backpack and go to hockey practice. Once I came to the practice, opened my backpack and saw boxing gloves instead of hockey gloves. I called my dad, he was mad. He told me to go to the shooting zone. My dad grumbled a little, then he told me that we would go to Churilovo and practice with the school team. I had a complete practice with them. I was about 11 years old.
– Why did you choose boxing?
– My dad used to box. He signed me up for boxing so that I would be able to stand up for myself. We practiced with punch mitts even when I was a preschooler.
– Does it help you on the ice?
– It did help when I was at school. As for the JHL, there has been just one case when I could use my skills, but it wasn’t an actual fight, just a scrum. I try to avoid fights, but I can stand up for myself if I have to.
– Tell me about your last name. Fans get confused – are you Rolgizer or Goryunov-Rolgizer?
– In the JHL I asked to go with one last name - Rolgizer. From the first grade, the coach called me Rolgizer. He explained that this name sounds good. I was Goryunov at school and Rolgizer in hockey. When I joined the JHL team, I asked to put one last name on file.
– Double-barrelled names are pretty rare in our country.
– That was what my parents decided after getting married. My mom’s last name is Rolgizer, and my dad’s last name is Goryunov, they decided I would have a double-barrelled last name. I am to get a new passport soon and I plan to keep Rolgizer only, because signing papers is problematic when you have a double surname. My patronymic name is Vladislavovich. I need at least two lines to write my full name.