Team Student Hockey League played three games against Junior Hockey League teams from Tatarstan. Team SHL beat Reaktor Nizhnekamsk in the shootout and lost to Sputnik Almetyevsk and Irbis Kazan. JHL players shared their thoughts on the games.
Danil Pyanov. Irbis Kazan forward
“Team Student Hockey League is well organized,” says Pyanov. “It’s an interesting project on the whole, because those guys, who don’t have a professional contract, can continue playing and study at the same time. Many Team SHL players have Junior Hockey League experience. For them participating in these games is a chance to prove themselves and possibly get an offer from some team on top of other things.
“So Team SHL plays could play competitive hockey with Junior Hockey League teams. Although, it would be very difficult for them. It’s important to understand that students can’t practice as much as us because of their studies. Besides, they have guys of different ages on their team but it wasn’t noticeable during the game.
“It just so happens that the game against Team SHL was my last in Irbis jersey. Although, I didn’t think about it during the game against Team SHL. I just treated it as a regular game and prepared for it the usual way. I realized it only after some time.
“Shortly before the game I participated in the season-closing game. A few guys from our VHL and JHL teams played a game against Ak Bars [Kazan]. It was one of the most exciting moments of the season. For instance, I participated in one competition – biathlon. I was nervous because it was the deciding competition. I wanted to win even in that game. On top of that, Tatneft-Arena drew a pretty good crowd that day. Fans stepped onto the ice after the game. I was giving out autographs and taking pictures for an hour, which was new to me. I loved every minute of it!”.
Vladislav Shutov. Reaktor Nizhnekamsk forward
“It was a usual game. It wasn’t different from any Junior Hockey League regular season game in any way. For three weeks prior to it all we did was practicing. So it was fun to finally play. Our coaching staff tried out a few promising players – there were our junior hockey school alumni and a few guys from other towns. It was important to understand how our team was going to look without its top players, who have graduated from the league this season. So Reaktor’s roster had a lot of guys who were born in 2000 and 2001. Perhaps, that’s why we couldn’t get the win.
“Even though, our coaches asked us to treat the game seriously, we might have had trouble getting in the right mindset for it. Team SHL players told us before the game that they wouldn’t give up easily. They showed what they’re capable of and put us in our place. It was interesting to play against them but luck was also not on our side. We didn’t convert on a lot of scoring chances that we created.
“This past season was a new step in my career – I made my Junior Hockey League debut. I remember my first career goal well – I scored it against Altay [Ust-Kamenogorsk]. There were a lot of good games. For instance, when we managed to force overtime in Khanty-Mansiysk with just a few seconds remaining on the clock.
“Besides, I competed for Kharlamov Cup for the first time in my career. It was great to be in that atmosphere. During the playoffs I was even going to bed thinking about hockey. I put all of my effort to focus on hockey. I remember well the last game of the series against Tolpar [Ufa]. I passed it to Danila Mikhailov, who scored Reaktor’s last goal of the season.”