14.06.2018 в 11:49


Daniil Yurtaikin’s Junior Hockey League career was eventful. Aside from the trophies that he has won in four years with Loko Yaroslavl, the forward boasts a World Juniors bronze medal. Looking back at his junior career, Yurtaikin shares how he got on Loko, explains why he spent several months in Russia’s Far East, what was it like working with Jan Kolar and Alexandre Pickard, and his friendship with Kirill Kaprizov.

- You spent most of your career in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl system.
- Which is strange because I began my hockey career in Kemerovo Region. My father was the head of physical culture and sports in the town of Belovo. That’s why I’ve always had a strong connection with sports. There is no big hockey team in Kemerovo, so I played for Metallurg Novokuznetsk for a while and then my coaches advised me to join Lokomotiv. My parents moved to Yaroslavl a little later, so I for the first five years in Yaroslavl I stayed at the baza. That’s where I met, for example, Maxim Shuvalov, who died in a crash in 2011.


- You began branching out in your last JHL year. In the 2017-18 season you played for five different teams – Loko, Ryazan, Lokomotiv, Amurskie Tigry and Amur. How did that happen?
- I spent the pre-season with Lokomotiv but then I got injured and it took me a while to recover from it. I went to Ryazan to get some game experience and then decided to move to Khabarovsk. On Amur I played on the same line with Alexandre Pickard and sometimes with Jan Kolar. It’s a great experience just to be around such players and see them get ready for the games. Although, I spoke very little to them. They don’t speak Russian much and my English needs to get better as well. In any case, I took out a lot of positives from that trip.

- How difficult it was to adjust to a new life in Khabarovsk?
- Nikolai Averin played for Khabarovsk at that time, so he was helping me out at first. I was surprised that it was always cold in Khabarovsk. I had to put on winter clothes even in the fall. And, obviously, I had my fair share of Far East lifestyle – tasty crabs, caviar and long flights.

- Why did you play just five games for Amur?
- Amur’s goal was to make the playoffs so the team needed to get points in every game. Perhaps, that’s why head-coach Andrei Martemyanov didn’t trust his young players, giving the nod to guys with more experience.

- You played triple as much for Lokomotiv this season – 15 games.
- While Alexei Kudashov was in charge, I was never called up to first team. That’s why I often played for Ryazan. Dmitry Kvartalnov started calling me up and I played 13 regular season games for Lokomotiv which were followed by two more in the playoffs. I remember Western Semifinal series against SKA St. Petersburg. It was great to play against Pavel Datsyuk, Nikita Gusev and Ilya Kovalchuk.

- You finished your Junior Hockey League career with a Kharlamov Cup. There couldn’t be a better way, could it?
- The excitement was a little smudged by the fact that I didn’t play in the final game of the series. Dmitry Ivanovich Krasotkin decided to rotate his lines a little. All in all, the emotions from that win weren’t as great as they were back in 2016. After all, there is a big difference between winning on home ice and on the road.

- After Loko won their second championship title, there were invited to celebrate it at FC Lokomotiv Moscow’s game, where the team also won a championship title. Do you like soccer?
- I can watch a good game but I have never gone to any Shinnik Yaroslavl games. I won’t be able to go to any FIFA World Cup games either. Dmitry Kvartalnov set a camp for junior players and after that I’m going to have to get ready for the pre-season.


- Aside from your achievements with Loko, you have one with Team Russia as well. You won a bronze medal at the 2017 World Juniors. How did you like the tournament?
- I missed a lot of games at the tournament. In a round robin game against Team USA I got a concussion. I recovered in time for the semifinal where we faced Team USA again and we lost that game in the shootout. I remember my only goal from that tournament. I scored on Team Latvia beating their defenseman and goaltender.

- You’ve also had some tough losses along the way. For example, losing to Team Switzerland in the quarterfinal game of the 2015 IIHF U18 World Championship.
- We finished on top of our group in round robin back then, beating USA and Sweden. We were yet to lose a game at the tournament. In the playoffs we had to travel to Zug from Lucerne. We didn’t have much time to get used to the new ice and the Swiss had a tremendous support from their fans. It’s obvious that hockey is moving forward in Switzerland every year. They’ve made it to final at the Worlds twice already.

- You’ve played with Kirill Kaprizov on U18 and U20 Team Russia. Do you still keep in touch with him?
- We’ve been friends ever since we were kids back in Novokuznetsk. We rarely text each other lately but I congratulated him with the win at the Olympics, of course.