21.06.2018 в 12:55


Kuznetskie Medvedi goaltender Andrei Katyukhin told Junior Hockey League media relations department what was it like playing with Alexei Polodyan and Andrei Altybarmakyan for SKA-Serebryanye Lvy St. Petersburg, master-classes by Sergei Bobrovsky, lost bet at JHL Challenge Cup and much more.


- When you were 14 years old, you joined SKA-Serebryanye Lvy from Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Whose initiative was it to make the move and how was it unfolding?

- In the 2012-13 season I came to St. Petersburg three times with Metallurg to compete at several tournaments. I did well there and was named the top goaltender at two of them. Serebryanye Lvy coaches Stanislav Komarov and Valery Afanasyev noticed my play and invited me to try out for their team at the end of the season. We won two tournaments with the team – World Select Invitation, which is regard as the unofficial world club championship, and another tournament in St. Petersburg. In the end the coaches offered me to join their team. That’s how I ended up on Serebryanye Lvy.


- Alexei Polodyan and Andrei Altybarmakyan played for Serebryanye Lvy at the time. What was your relationship with them? Do you still keep in touch?

- We had a good relationship. I often look back at the time. We had a very good group of guys there. We don’t see each other these days because we compete in different conferences. I mostly keep in touch with those who also play in the Eastern Conference. For example, with Konstantin Dubin, who is currently with Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk. We played half a season together with Vladimir Somsikov. He also came to Novokuznetsk.


- In 2013 you went back to Novokuznetsk. What went wrong in St. Petersburg?

- There were several reasons. Players started to gradually leave the team. Some went to SKA, some others went to Moscow. I began having some troubles with my accommodation. At first, I was renting an apartment myself, then I stayed at my friends’. The team wasn’t taking care of accommodation at the time, my parents had a tough time financially and I decided to go back home.

- Up until 2016 Kirill Kaprizov played in Novokuznetsk. Have you got the chance to play with him?

- I didn’t get the chance to play with Kirill in the JHL. That year when he made his debut in the league, I was already a regular in the KHL. We played a few games together back in junior hockey school, because I was often called up to play for the 1997 team.


- Sergei Bobrovsky has organized his master-classes in Novokuznetsk for several years now.

- Those were very interesting. Once Sergei came together with Ian Clarke – Columbus Blue Jackets goaltending coach. These master-classes always draw a lot of players of various ages, who come from all over Kemerovo Region.


- You have a picture of you discussing something with Bobrovsky at practice. What are these master-classes like?

- We were discussing the best way to position yourself against the post. Sergei was showing me how he does it. I tried to do it but because of our size difference my top corner was wide open. He asked me to show how I normally do it. In the end, we came to the conclusion that my way of doing that suits me best. These practices draw a lot of players. Every goaltender that comes there tries to absorb as much information as possible. The kids have a lot of excitement in their eyes, too. You can see that they really need those practices and how much they mean to them.


- In the 2016-17 season Kuznetskie Medvedi made it to the semifinals. Why did you play just four games out of 13 in that playoff run and what game was the most memorable for you?

- I started in our first playoff game. We scored a quick goal on Sarmaty but they managed to capitalize on their chances, scored three goals past me and I got yanked. I did play in all rounds but that tallied up to just four games. I can’t single out any game. They all were very important.

- Kuznetskie Medvedi dedicated their win in the second round to Sergei Nailievich Gimayev. How did you come up with that idea?

- A week before the playoffs we were coming back from Nizhnekamsk. We had to transfer in Moscow and we met Sergei Nailievich at the airport. Some guys from our team got a chance to talk to him and some others took pictures with him for good memory. When the tragedy happened, we were all, obviously, shocked. In memory of that legendary person our team got special patches on our jerseys and we played with them all through the playoffs. Our fans also made a banner that said ‘Go out there and battle’. They brought it to every game.


- In your two Junior Hockey League seasons you got a chance to play at two JHL Challenge Cups. Which game do you remember the most – in Ufa or Astana?

- My first Challenge Cup was in Ufa. Everything was new to me back then. I didn’t even know how everything was going to unfold. I enjoyed the atmosphere, gifts from the league and beautiful jerseys, which we also got to keep. The game was exciting, even though we lost in the shootout. As for Astana, I sort of knew what to expect there. The organization was on par with Ufa. The only thing that was disappointing was the weather. For a certain time it was unclear if the game was even going to take place. Because of the storm many fans couldn’t come to the game. There was a snow storm outside and we played in a half-empty rink. The game between East and West was a hard-fought one, but the luck wasn’t on our side and we lost.


- You dyed your hair in bright blue color for some time. Is that true, that you did it because you lost a bet?

- I dyed my hair blue before the Challenge Cup. I lost a friendly bet to my wife. She and my hairdresser joked a lot about dying my hair but I always told them that there was no reason for that. Then my wife offered me to dye my hair if I go to the 2018 JHL Challenge Cup. I smiled at her and agreed because it’s very seldom that a player gets to play at two consecutive Challenge Cups.


- In the 2017-18 season you played just 28 games for Kuznetskie Medvedi. Was that because of an injury?

- We had three goaltenders on our team. Everyone of us had upsides and shortcomings. Vladislav Yugov and Stanislav Baryshnikov played in the beginning of the season, and then they added me into rotation. I missed seven games towards the end of the season because of an injury, too.

- You spent six weeks with Metallurg and played in one VHL game. How did you like the experience?

- We played at home and won by a big margin. After we scored yet another goal, the coaches decided to put me in goal. I was happy that they trusted me to play with grown men.


- Kuznetskie Medvedi missed the playoffs this season. Did you have a chance to compete in VHL playoffs?

- I recovered from injury right in time for the playoffs and went back to practices. I was feeling well. At the time the team had only two goaltenders and they needed another one. I wanted to join Metallurg very much but the doctors were against it.


- At the 2017-18 season closing ceremony Kuznetskie Medvedi’s Anton Ruban was named the MVP of Junior Hockey League.

- We congratulated Anton after the end of the season. We knew his statistics and understood that he topped the league in goals and points. At the season closing ceremony he even got a reward for that. I couldn’t congratulate him personally because he flew back to his hometown of Omsk right after the ceremony.


- Is your wife a hockey player as well?

- A few years ago women’s hockey team Kuznechanka came back to life at an amateur level. That’s where she played. It’s been over a year now that she hasn’t played hockey. We decided that one hockey player is enough for our family.