The young forward has scored 10 (6+4) points in eight games.
Timur Mukhanov is the son of Izhevsk hockey trainee, former leading player of Glazov Progress Renat Mukhanov. The young forward started playing hockey in Glazov, moved to Kirov, Podolsk, and then joined Omsk Avangard system. Mukhanov made his Junior Hockey League debut in the 2021/2022 season. He played 15 regular season games and scored 5 (1+4) points. Based on the results of the first nine games of the 2022/2023 season, the 17-year-old player is the top goalscorer and the top scorer of Omskie Yastreby with 11 (6+5) points scored.
In an interview with the JHL website, Timur Mukhanov talked about the role of his father in his career, his broken leg preventing him from having a better first season at the junior level and his personal goals for the 2022/2023 season.
– Your father used to be a hockey player. Was this sport a clear choice for you when you were a child?
– You could say that. My dad used to take me to his practices, I attended his games. We started with public ice skating, and then he signed me up for hockey when I was five years old. My father wanted me to make good use of my spare time, he promoted a love of hockey for me when I was a child.
– What memories of the first practices do you have?
– I damaged my nose during the very first practice. I was using a chair as a skating aid, after a while, I told my dad: “It’s boring, let me skate without it.” He agreed, I let go of the chair, fell and damaged my nose. My father was afraid that I would lose the desire to play hockey. But I remember that I wanted to go back on the ice right away.
– How did your dad impact your development?
– He was following my career closely: he was giving me pointers, criticizing for mistakes, he was controlling everything until I turned 15. I benefited much from his help. Now he works as a coach for Vityaz, Moscow Region, and I started playing in the JHL, so we don’t get to spend much time together. But we still call each other after games: he tells me when I played well and when I didn’t.
– What psychological advice did your father give you?
– I was a troublesome child: if something didn’t work out, I would start freaking out, crying and breaking sticks. My dad was telling me that I needed to stay calm when playing, make it a stress-free experience. He had also gone through this, so he knew that I must learn correct behavior myself. You are to make your own decisions in any life situations. My father put me on to this idea, and then I worked on myself on my own.
– You mentioned that you wanted to become a goaltender. Why?
– I liked goalie equipment, I wanted to stand out. I think that many kids have the same reasoning for having a desire to play goal. But my father said no right away, he told me that there was no way I would be a goalie. Now I look at our goalies and don’t understand how one can stop slap shots when he is to take the puck to the head. We also block shots, but it happens at certain moments, while they are doing it during the entire game.
– Local publics of your native town Glazov follow your progress. Do you feel this attention?
– Yes, people support me. It is very nice that so many people from such a small town follow my career. It motivates me to work harder and get better.
– There has not been too many players from your hometown in the KHL. Can you name them?
– Artyom Karavayev and Ivan Lekomtsev were born in Glazov. Nikolai Kazakovtsev, the elder son of my first coach Oleg Kazakovtsev, also played in the KHL. His other son, Ivan, is of my age, we used to practice together when we started playing hockey. He is now with the Dynamo SPb system. I’ll be glad if he succeeds. I hope to play some KHL games against him. Famous figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva is also from Glazov. It’s nice that athletes from our city achieve success.
– The main SHL trophy has already visited Glazov. Will you continue the tradition of bringing cups to your city?
– I would love to. I have a dream - to bring some trophy to my hometown, to show it to kids who are just starting to play hockey. I even visualize it. Such events are very impressive and motivating.
– Why did you move from Glazov to Kirov when you were a child?
– The only ice rink in Glazov was closed for reconstruction. We practiced at an outdoor rink in the winter, so it was not possible to progress. At one of the tournaments, we played against a team from Kirov. The head coach liked me, they offered me to join them, and my father and I agreed to move there in order for me to develop further. I was only eight years old, but I went to Kirov with my dad, so it was pretty easy. He was always there for me, helping and supporting me.
– Why did you decide to join Vityaz after that?
– My father and I began to realize that I would have a chance to become a professional player if I continued to work hard. I played well, hockey was more than just a general health sport for me, so I wanted to develop further. Sergei Levashov was the head of the Vityaz school back then, both he and my father are from Izhevsk. Sergei Nikolayevich even coached my father. I was invited to Podolsk, and we moved again.
– How did you happen to be with the Omsk Avangard system?
– We did well with Vityaz-2005. Eight people were called up to the Russian U18 team and our head coach Pavel Levashov was offered to join the Avangard system. He did not try to talk anyone into following him, but I was on the list of those who were offered to come to Omsk. I always liked working with Pavel Sergeevich, he had given me a lot of help, so I decided to join Avangard too.
– How do you like the weather in Siberia?
– At first I was shocked, it was bitterly cold in winter. I got used to it with the passing of time, now I don’t pay attention to it. Omsk is a beautiful sunny city, it has become my adopted home.
– How can you evaluate your performance in the 2021/2022 JHL season?
– I didn’t play well during my first season. I played for the Russian U18 team in the preseason and got injured. I broke my leg, but the X-ray did not show a fracture, so I was not aware of that for a month and even played a couple of games for Omskie Yastreby in the offseason. I scored two goals and thought that I got into stride. But I had a second X-ray taken before the first regular season game and it showed a fracture. I went to Moscow for a surgery, recovered and was called up to the U18 team again. I played pretty well, returned to Omsk, but I could not get adjusted to the junior level. I didn’t understand the requirements, nothing was working out, I couldn’t score for a long time, was getting all worked up - all this was growing like a rolling snowball.
– What emotions did you have when you scored your first goal?
– I was glad, but it was not a wow-thing. I was relieved to score my first goal at the junior level. My teammates and the coaching staff were helping me – everyone was so supportive. After that, I started playing better.
– How do you feel at the start of the 2022/2023 season?
– Everything is great so far, we have good chemistry, I feel well-conditioned. I have matured, I have become more responsible playing hockey: I had been working hard to prepare for the season, now I am paying more attention to playing the right way defensively.
– Omskie Yastreby were the first to play at the new arena in Omsk. What were your feelings?
– We felt jittery as we were opening the new arena. Many people came to watch the game. Omsk is called a hockey city for a reason, fans do great supporting the team here. It’s a sheer pleasure to play in front of them. But all that put pressure on us. We are already professionals and we had to cope with anxiety. Unfortunately, we did not manage to and lost to Sibirskie Snaipery 2:7.
– What are your personal goals for this season?
– All personal goals side with the team goal, which is one and the only – winning the Kharlamov Cup. I don’t think about points, if I manage to score many, it will be great. But the team result is more important for me. That is why I want to develop and make a positive contribution to the success of Omskie Yastreby.
– You were the captain of the Russian U18 team. How do you feel about the role of a leader?
– It’s an enormous responsibility. A captain must be a leader both on and off the ice: lead the team, help the coaching staff. When I was chosen to wear the “C”, I was very happy and grateful for the strong credit of trust.
– What feelings do you have when playing for the national team?
– Wearing a Russian national team jersey gives you indescribable feelings. You understand that you represent your country. We have to give 200% on each centimeter of the ice, because we are selected from a sheer number of players, we have to justify confidence and bring joy to fans.
– Is it easy to put you out of temper on the ice?
– It used to be easy, but I’ve worked on my emotions, I’ve learned to keep my temper in check. Now I try to take no notice of provocations. You need to be calm both on the ice and in everyday life, be devoid of stress if you can help it. The main thing is to look on the bright side of things. Even if nothing is working out, it’s better to smile than to get uptight.
– What do you like doing in your free time?
– I do not get to have much free time during the season. I try to relax more: I sleep a lot, go for a walk with my friends, we go to the cinema or dine out. I love watching series. Brigada is my favorite one. My father gave this series on CD to me when I was six years old. I liked it right away: the cast, the script. I have watched it about ten times already.
– Do you play other sports?
– When there is a long break between games, we can play soccer or basketball with guys. In general, I try to play whatever I am offered to play. I play sports with gusto.