Today’s hero of My Hockey Story is MHC Spartak Moscow forward Mikhail Zholobov. He told us about how he got into hockey, his first professional contract and his biggest fans.
I don’t remember the exact time I was brought to hockey. My father had a close friend and he was connected to hockey, so he told him to bring me to it. My father has been a Spartak fan ever since he was a kid so that part was much of a debate. I never asked why my dad chose hockey for me over soccer, for example. Although, when I was 6 or 7 years old I figured my dad made the right choice. He’s in construction business himself and my mom takes care of the house. She says I was an angel when I was a kid. I had good marks in school up till 7th
Grade but then hockey took most of my life and there wasn’t much time left for studying. My first coach was Vladimir Nikolayevich Kuznetsov. He put me on offense since the beginning.
My first Junior Hockey League game was at Junior Club World Cup against a Swedish team Malmö Redhawks. That was my first serious experience. I was very nervous but I felt my coaches trusted me. Hopefully, I didn’t let them down. Sergei Alexeyev cheered me up the most. He was the captain back then. He supported me. He told me – don’t be nervous, everyone went through it. I always felt the support from older players. I cheered for some of them back in the 2014 Kharlamov Cup Finals. Back then I understood myself that I wasn’t good enough to play in the JHL but I was happy for the team’s success nevertheless.
To be honest with you, my rookie Junior Hockey League season wasn’t all that good. I was loaned to HC Zelenograd because they were Spartak’s affiliate team at the time. In JHL-B everything was worse in terms of organization but the games themselves were pretty much the same. Zelenograd was a positive experience. I was getting a lot of ice-time and game experience. I remember everyone on that team. We had a great group of guys, excellent coaching staff and we won bronze medals in the end. I will always remember the playoffs. The atmosphere at the games was incredible – the rink was packed every time. Actually, it’s sad that Zelenograd isn’t part of the league anymore. After the season, I returned to MHC Spartak.
Signing a JHL contract was exciting. I was really happy. I love my team and I’m proud to play for the red-and-white. I think, two years ago they just got a bit unlucky. We had a strong team and we were unlucky to get eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs. As for last season, we missed our top players due to injuries. This is my last year in the Junior Hockey League. I will try to do my best and give it a 100%. I don’t do well with losing because I hate losing and I get very emotional over it. I’m loyal to hockey. I can’t even imagine what would have happened to me if it weren’t for hockey.
Off the ice I’m kind and talkative but I’m a whole different person on the ice. I like to fish and stay active on vacation. I can watch a soccer game on TV. I study at Sports College, majoring in Physical Education coach. My biggest fan is my father. He doesn’t miss a single home game. My mom also comes to the games sometimes.
The most difficult aspect in hockey is physical battle. I need to improve that component. Although, there’s always room for perfection. You need to keep working on all elements. My greatest rival is, obviously, Krasnaya Armiya. It’s the battle for ages. On the team I hang out the most with Danila Livanov, Andrei Revatsky, Mark Rozanov, Oleg Zvyagin and, of course, captain Anton Pervov.
I don’t like planning too far ahead into the future. Time will tell where I’m going to end and what goals I will achieve. Right now it’s important to work and play good hockey. It all depends on me.