The player whose shootout goal got one million views went all the way from the JHL to the KHL in September and is aiming for becoming a full-time player of Vityaz.
Russkie Vityazi forward Stanislav Yarovoi has become one of the main discoveries of the 2022/2023 season in the KHL. The hockey player was born in Bashkortostan, in 2015 he joined the Vityaz system and kept progressing year after year. After spending two seasons with Russkie Vityazi in the JHL, his performance allowed him to be called up to the main team. In his second game with Vityaz, he scored a game-winning shootout goal to give his team the win over Admiral. In the next game, he scored a regulation-time goal to Spartak to come up trumps at the age of 19 years and 37 days.
As a Russkie Vityazi player, Yarovoi is remembered for his incredible shootout goal, which became the most viewed video on the JHL channel (1.7 million views as of today). In September 2022, the forward managed to play in three leagues - in the JHL for Russkie Vityazi, in the Supreme Hockey League for Ryazan-VDV and in the KHL for Vityaz. In an interview with the official JHL website, Stanislav talked about his first KHL appearance being a success, the difficulties of junior-to-senior transition, his spectacular shootout moves and the reason for wearing number 99.
– The last two weeks have been remarkable: your KHL debut, game-winning shootout goal, first regulation-time goal. How would you evaluate your performance at the new level?
– My first games were good ones, but these are my first steps in the KHL, I need to increase speed and improve mentality. I will do my best to take my performance to the next level. If I had not participated in the main team’s preseason training camp, it would have been much harder to start well. The coaching staff was following me during the training camp, I managed to show my worth - they gave me a chance. The KHL team has completely different exercise loads, but I managed them well during training camp, I didn’t cave in. I understood that if given a chance I had to justify the credit of trust.
– Is there an aspect of the game which is still hard for you?
– The KHL requires higher speeds and quicker thinking. They check harder here. You have to be ready for whatever comes, get in the right mindset. Supporting the defense is still pretty tough for me, I am working on it. The coaching staff gives me some pointers and I listen to them.
– Is your first KHL goal the highest point of the season?
– The game-winning shootout goal was the highest point for me, because it gave us the win. And as for the fifth goal to Spartak, it only brought up the score. I didn’t even celebrate it too much. One would think: the KHL, the first goal scored, but I was not too emotional about it. The shootout goal was more important for me personally, we pulled out the win, the whole team congratulated me.
– Did you keep the pucks from the game-winning shootout goal and your first KHL goal?
– Shootout goals don’t count in goal statistical total, it’s just a memorable moment (smiles). But I did keep the puck after scoring to Spartak.
– What else do you have in your collection?
–The puck from my first JHL goal. I’m looking forward to scoring a hat-trick, so as to enlarge my collection (laughs).
– How did you find out about being called up to the main team?
– After three games played in the JHL, the coaching staff told me I was to go to the SHL team in Ryazan. I played another three games there, then they told me to come back and start practicing with the main team. After a couple of practices, I was suited up for the game against Amur.
– Was it hard to change leagues one after another?
– Yes, the tactics of the JHL, the SHL and the KHL teams are different. Getting adjusted is pretty tough. Of course, you make some mistakes, but hockey is a game of mistakes. The result of the game depends on who makes more mistakes. The JHL-to-SHL transition was difficult, it was my debut at the senior level, after all.
– How can you describe your role on the ice?
– It’s hard to say something about it for now, I need to show my worth, prove myself. I can draw a penalty, make a shot when I have a chance. I don’t have a specific role yet. In order to play on the power play, you must earn it first. Now I play based on the situation on the ice, I try to create something in the offensive zone when necessary. When supporting the defense, I strictly follow the coaches’ task, they expect me to play the right way first of all.
– And what about discipline? After all, a mistake in the KHL is to be paid way more for.
– I can’t say that discipline is stricter here. If your penalty results in allowing a goal in a JHL game, it will not be overlooked. In the junior league, you are also expected to be disciplined and eliminate mistakes, because each shorthanded situation is a potential goal allowed. I believe that it is important to avoid penalties and bite the bullet no matter what league you play in, because players of any team are required to be disciplined on the ice.
– How do you follow Russkie Vityazi now?
– I attend home games, whenever possible, check on lineups, practices, team atmosphere. I have guys’ best interest at heart, if I am sent back to the team, I will do my best to help. I want Russkie Vityazi to clinch playoffs and win the Kharlamov Cup. There is a reasonable chance of success in the 2022/2023 season. We have a lot of talented and hardworking guys, everyone knows their strengths. Ivan Detkov has a killer instinct, good speed and shot. Maxim Yanchenko is fast and skillful. Alexander Mirzabalayev also does well, he scored a very nice goal a little while ago. Kirill Kondyrev has good speed, but things have not been going his way in the JHL so far. Savely Sherstnev is an excellent goaltender, so we do have good players to name, the guys are trying their best. I don’t know the young guys well yet, but I’m sure they will reach their potential too. For example, Maxim Ilyichyov, born in 2006.
“I’ll try to grab number 13 back”
– Taking the decisive shootout attempt in the KHL is a big responsibility. How should one keep his head cool in such situations?
– You will have different thoughts and emotions on any case. It was my second KHL game, I had to get it done. I composed myself, thought of what moves I would make, looked at the goalie’s stance and got ready, I expected to be given a chance to take a shot. Being on the ice, I was already cool-headed and was doing exactly what I had planned to do. There had been about seven attempts taken before me, so I knew exactly what the goalie might do (laughs). I did feel jittery though, especially since the crowd was cheering. We played at home, emotions were running high.
– Do you plan everything ahead in such situations or does everything happen on the spur of the moment?
– I won’t set secrets free (laughs), but I always have two options and then play by the ear.
– What did you feel when hitting the ice of the home arena?
– You can’t get guided by your emotions, no matter what happens. There were a lot of people watching the game when I made my KHL debut, I was very happy that it happened in our barn. Of course, I felt a bit jittery, but fans’ support added strength and energy, it helped, I knew that people were watching us and I couldn’t let the team down, I needed to play well.
– Was it your desire to wear number 99?
– (Smiles) Normally I wear number 13, I did not want number 99, but somehow it happened this way. I saw my jersey from the 2021/2022 season with this number on it. It's just that number 13 was already taken by Kemilainen, but I was wearing this number playing in the JHL. That’s ok, I’ll try to grab number 13 back. Number 99 is also fine, but I like number 13 more.
– You faced Amur in your first KHL game. JHL MVP Yaroslav Likhachyov plays for that team. Is it nice to see guys who recently played at the junior level playing in the KHL?
– Of course, it's great. I saw Likhachyov’s goals - he has a very good shot, he is confident on the ice, stays in the game, converts chances. It’s cool that there are young players in the KHL now, there is something to strive for.
– Did you take moving from Podolsk to Balashikha easy?
– I spent eight years in Podolsk, but I can't say that moving to Balashikha was tough for me. Of course, there were good fans in Podolsk, I spent a lot of time there. I like the arena in Balashikha, fans come to watch games, support us, they even come from Podolsk. Actually, I have a house in Ufa. I cannot say that something keeps me in certain cities.
– How important is Vityaz being the part of the club system for young players’ motivation?
– It’s a major incentive. When Russkie Vityazi were in Chekhov, and Vityaz in Podolsk, it was not yet so pronounced. Then the junior team moved to Podolsk, fans started to attend our games, the management of the main team were able to follow us closer. Having a KHL team has a great impact on the players, because you want to prove yourself at the junior level in order to make it to the main team and continue to develop there. I know many players from our system who managed to become full-time players of Vityaz and other KHL teams.
– Did you manage to quickly find chemistry with your new linemates in the KHL?
– I try not to ruin my reputation in the team so that my linemates are happy with me and don’t think: “Again, Yarovoi is on the line with me” (smiles). Maybe some sort of chemistry is there, but basically, it’s more of mutual understanding. We talk to one another, come up with some moves, discuss everything in order to improve our performance and minimize mistakes on the ice. There is good atmosphere in the team, we all have a positive attitude, so young players like me feel good being here. Line combinations do not matter to me, everyone in the team understands one another, we all share in the common cause.
– Who helped you to get adjusted in Vityaz?
– Being a young player, I got a great deal of help from the coaching staff. Speaking of teammates, I would name Yegor Voronkov, I am on friendly terms with him. In general, everyone was helpful and supportive. Kirill Rasskazov was giving me some pointers, Vitalya Popov, the center of our line, also helped me. I still make some mistakes, sometimes I am a bit late for a line change. I really enjoy the atmosphere in the main team. You come back to the bench and everyone supports you, there is always such a killer drive on the bench, it's very cool.
– In the 2021/2022 JHL season, you scored a spectacular shootout goal to Taifun, now you also have a game-winning shootout goal at the KHL level. Do you work on it during practices?
– I used to practice shootouts with my father when I was a child, he gave me a lot of recommendations. Everything depends on you - you just have to put your whole soul into the shot and take it. Now I practice shootouts by myself, try to come up with something new. Best Russian goalies play in the KHL, so it’s more difficult to score here. You can invent something supernatural, but it is too risky. There are many rehearsed moves for shootouts, but I am not that confident for trying them yet (smiles). I think that shootouts can be called my strength, but it’s a kind of lottery anyways.
– Are KHL coaches stricter with shootouts?
– You may get creative in the KHL, but you have to be sure that you will score the shootout goal, you shouldn’t carry it to the point of absurdity. The coaching staff trusts you, and if you start to invent something, you can get criticized for that. I don’t go with creative moves only, I also take regular shots. I had two attempts in the preseason, I just shot and scored. Creativity must be reasonable.
– Do you often rewatch your shootouts?
– Of course, I rewatch them. When I scored the one of the 2021/2022 season, I did it a little wrong. Then I watched it to see what exactly I did wrong. I usually watch them not because they are nice. I pay more attention to the way the goalie was moving in order to improve my method of execution later. For example, I did the fake shot, but he did not buy it, so I didn’t do it the right way. But, of course, seeing that I managed to score such a nice goal makes my heart high (smiles).
– Was it emotionally important to score in the first games for the main team?
– Of course, it's nice that it didn’t take me a season or 40 games to score my first goal. I’m glad that I managed to come up trumps at such a young age, the main thing is to keep progressing, keep scoring so as not to have a scoring draught for the whole season (Yarovoi scored his second KHL goal in the game against Spartak on October 9 – note).
– You said that you are not very fluent in English, while there are imports in the team. Have you had some classes with a tutor yet?
– I don’t have much time for having classes with a tutor, besides, I don’t really want to stuff my head with something else now. But I still try to communicate, learn something new for myself. In any case, it is very important and interesting, we have guys in the team who speak good English. When they talk to foreigners, I listen and try to understand something, but, of course, there is a lot to work on (smiles).
– What was your father’s role in your development as a player?
– He played a crucial role in it. I want to express my deep gratitude to him, because a lot of effort, time and money was invested in me. He coached me, helped me then and still does now. I take his advice, because he is no stranger to hockey, he used to coach, used to play, so he sees my mistakes.
– You have had a lot of interviews after scoring the sensational shootout goal and making a successful KHL debut. How do you feel about such media attention?
– It’s very nice when people talk about you, the main thing here is not to become too big for your boots. You need to keep working on yourself, because hasty climbers have sudden falls. There is nothing wrong about this media interest, I just need to try to continue to prove myself.
– A quick round of questions is coming now in order for the fans to get to know you better. Who can be called your idol?
– It is always interesting to watch someone scoring, making nice moves. So, I follow everyone and try to try to learn something from every hockey player, but I don’t have an idol.
– What would you choose – scoring two goals or having four assists in a game?
– That’s a tough one. I’d choose having four assists and scoring two goals (smiles).
– Podolsk or Balashikha?
– Balashikha... and Podolsk. I can’t choose in this case, I feel good in both of these cities.
– When you don’t play hockey, you…
– Go fishing
– What’s the biggest fish that you’ve ever caught?
– Carp, 3.6 kg.
– What sport would you play if it wasn’t for hockey?
– I’d go with basketball.
– Who is the most talented Russian hockey player under 21?
– Yaroslav Busygin.
– What is your favorite book?
– Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
Yarovoi Stanislav Vyacheslavovich
Born on August 26, 2003 in Tuymazy
2012-2014 – Oryol HC, Oryol
2014 – Atlant, Moscow Region
2014-2015 – Salavat Yulaev, Ufa
From 2015 – Vityaz, Podolsk