Chelyabinsk native is one best players on Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk.
“I want to win a medal, preferably the gold one,” said Stalnye Lisy rookie Savely Olshansky on the eve of his first Kharlamov Cup game. The rookie talks about his junior hockey school, his coaches’ approach and his emotions after signing his first professional contract.
“I used to go to a rink with my dad and brother where they would teach me how to skate,” reminisces Olshansky. “When I was about four years old, I could skate ok. I got noticed by a coach who invited me to try hockey. My dad loves the sport so it was a no-brainer for him and he took me to my first practice. I went to Traktor junior hockey school first but then I had a little conflict with my coach and moved to Magnitogorsk.
“I’ve lived by myself and played here for four years now. How did I get invited to play for Stalnye Lisy? I remember the moment. In April 2016 1999 year borns had an exhibition game against Stalnye Lisy. That was a chance to show what you’re capable of and make the team. I was with the national team at the moment. I got a call from my coach who told me who would meet me at the airport and we’d go to a tournament in Chelyabinsk. Even though, I was coming back a little tired from playing for Team Russia in Sweden, the news gave me adrenaline and will to play some more. I singed my contract after the tournament on May 1st. I was excited. After all, it was my first professional contract.”
Stalnye Lisy rookie defenseman had a great start in the Junior Hockey League – Olshansky scored a goal and picked up an assist in the game against Altay Ust-Kamenogorsk to help his team to a blowout 8-0 win. A big factor in that success was the fact that Olshansky had known Magnitogorsk major junior team head-coach for years.
“Our 1999 team coach got promoted from junior hockey school to major junior team along with us,” explains Olshansky. “So I’m really not the guy to ask about the differences in coaching in junior hockey school and major junior. Obviously, a few new drills were added to the routine but some of the drills were exactly the same. It’s just that it’s more fun in the JHL. It was difficult at first to get into the rhythm of games and practices but I believe I did well. The most important adjustment you have to do is get used to the pace of the game, which is significantly higher. I felt welcome on the team, I had known some guys already. We got together before the season, bonded, talked about our goals and plans, wished each other good luck. Everybody on our team helps each other and gives advice even on little details. To give you an example, I wear a visor now. I asked our captain for advice. I wanted to know what was the best way to screw it in – further away or closer to the helmet. I talk to everybody – they are all like brothers to me”.
Olshansky is currently among top-5 most defenseman on Stalnye Lisy in plus/minus category. He was a plus-13 after 40 regular season games. Does he have an individual secret that helps him to be in the right place at the right time?
“I’ve played hockey for about 14 years now and with the exception of last two years, I’d always played forward,” explains Olshansky with a laugh. “Back in junior hockey school I played at center on the third line. Our coach Vitaly Evgenievich Solovyov decided to give me some powerplay time, too. I scored twice as a defenseman. And then I began playing defense. Actually, my debut game as a defenseman was one to remember – I scored a goal and got a game-misconduct.
“What offensive skills do I use as a defenseman? I join the rushes and I can read the plays the opponents go for when I play defense. I try to understand what the forwards are going to do in certain situations because I used to play forward, too. Sometimes read the plays before they develop. I know where the forward is going to go and what he’s going to do. That experience helps me a lot.”
Most hockey players believe in superstitions and pre-game routine. They believe a certain sequence of events can lead to luck on the ice. The players are ready not to shave during the playoffs, they don’t let anybody touch their equipment, spit on their sticks, bang their right skate against the boards before hitting the ice and other crazy things. Olshansky is ready to share some of his superstitions.
“I have a few things I can tell you about,” he says. “When I tape my stick, I don’t let anybody touch the scissors, with which I cut the tape, before me. Only after. Also, I always put my right skate before I put on my left skate.”
We’re going to leave you with some wisdom from this young defenseman, which you can apply to different life situations. We recommend to print it and post in a dressing-room. It does have to be a Magnitogorsk dressing-room.
“I believe every hockey player has his own approach to the game,” says Olshansky. “We all work on different nuances of the game. It’s not fair to assign every success to hockey talent. The most important thing for is everyday hard work. That’s the key to success. The more you work on yourself, the less mistakes you make, the better off you’re going to be.”