JHL individual award winners commented on the season at closing ceremony.
Vladimir Galkin (Avto Yekaterinburg), JHL top goaltender
“The important thing is that I spent the evening with my parents. I couldn’t spend much time with them due to my busy schedule,” said Galkin. “I will remember tonight for the rest of my life. It feels like a dream to sit here with all these hockey legends. I’m happy that I impressed many of them with the way I performed in Kharlamov Cup Finals but the most important thing for me is that my parents are proud of me. They have done a lot for me. For example, there was a period of my life when nothing was going right for me in hockey. I was on the verge of ending my sports career. They have always believed in me, sent me to Yekaterinburg, helped me out financially and gave me a chance to chase after my dream. This is why I’m very grateful to them. When I was thanking them from the stage, I almost broke out in tears. Everything is getting better now. We sharing this happy moment together. Nevertheless, I’m not going to settle on this. I want these moments to occur year in and year out. I’m very happy and satisfied tonight.”
Dmitry Braginsky (Tolpar Ufa), JHL top rookie
“I played in NJHL last season. I think, that experience helped me because I competed against older players there. Adjusting to JHL went rather smoothly. I just played like I usually do,” said Braginsky. “I was voted goaltender of the week two consecutive times right in the very beginning of the regular season and then was selected as top goaltender of September. So I guess I got off to a good start (smiles). I haven’t really thought of that. I think one of the recipes for success is that you just have to enjoy the game. I enjoyed playing against Mamonty Yugry. They were of playoff caliber. It’s difficult when we go into the third period with a 1-goal lead. It’s a great psychological pressure.
“We went up against Avto in the playoffs and they had Vladimir Galkin in goal. I think Volodya is like me – he plays to win. A goaltender’s job is to help everything he can to his team, that’s why I wasn’t thinking about that duel. I just did everything I could to help my team win. We thanked each other. Those games were a colossal experience for us. I wished him good luck. It’s not for nothing that they had banners that said ‘Vova is a stoposaurus”. If it weren’t for him, perhaps we would have beaten Avto (smiles). It was an exciting experience in Game 4 when we set a record for the longest game. It’s really hard on goaltenders psychologically. Skaters move around a lot while it’s all about concentration for us. I tried not to think about anything in the intermissions and just rest.”
Mikhail Shalagin (JHC Spartak Moscow). Top goal-scorer and JHL regular season MVP
“What do I need to keep scoring goals? I have to do the same but at the pro level,” said Shalagin. “It’s a great feeling to be JHL’s top goal-scorer but now I have to score for Spartak’s pro team. Oleg Valerievitch Znarok is now the head-coach of the team. I have to work hard and prove my worth to him. As for my plans for immediate future, I’m going to rest and start getting ready for next season. Tonight I had a chance to talk to Dynamo St. Petersburg guys. They eliminated us from the playoffs but I hold no grudges. They’re great guys and talented hockey players. I wish them good luck in the future. What is going to inspire me in the future? First of all, it’s the guys who had played in Junior Hockey League before me and went on to become Olympic champions. It’s a great example for all of us. I got two awards tonight, which is great. I wasn’t sure if I was going to win the MVP award. We tried to guess it with Anton Vasiliev and I ended up getting the award in the end. I’m very grateful to the league for the award.”
Veniamin Baranov (JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg), JHL top defenseman of the season
“The season went pretty smoothly for me,” admitted Baranov. “I can’t say that there was anything that stood out. I enjoyed every game. It’s great to get this award in my last Junior Hockey League season. It’s a proof that I can compete in pro hockey in the future. Actually, I can say that I’m ready to test myself at another level. What are my vivid memories of the league? The latest playoffs stand out the most, especially our series against Loko. Kharlamov Cup games bring special emotions. We faced Yaroslavl in the second round for the second consecutive time. It was a tough loss. Everyone battled and wanted to win to make up for the previous season but we came up just short. A lot of us knew that it was our last season in junior hockey. We have to move forward and it was tough to finish Junior Hockey League career with no trophies. Why do I score so much? I just try to play my game. Besides, it’s all Anton Vasiliev’s fault (smiles).”
Anton Vasiliev (JHC Dynamo St. Petersburg). JHL top scorer
“I knew that I was the top-scorer of the league after the regular season ended. Last season I saw VHL season-closing ceremony, because Dynamo won Petrov Cup, so I expected something like that to be organized in JHL.
“Most memorable moments of the season were, obviously, KHL All-Star Game and JHL Challenge Cup. On top of that there were a lot of memorable games in the regular season as well. For example, we erased a 4-goal deficit in the game against Krasnaya Armiya. It’s great to get the award for being the top-scorer of the league. It’s going to be awesome to put another trophy on the shelf.
“It was my last season in Junior Hockey League but I had realized it a bit earlier so I wouldn’t say I got emotional about it. I didn’t think that I would spent the entire season with the junior team but that’s the way it happened. It was great to meet such legends as Alexei Yashin and Alexei Morozov tonight.”
Dmitry Krasotkin. JHL top head-coach
“The finals series had an exciting ending this year – it’s a great gem of the milestone Junior Hockey League season,” stated Krasotkin. “Winning it was very difficult both emotionally and physically-wise but the joy it brought is just as good as in previous years. Some time has passed after the game, so the emotions cooled down a bit. At the season-closing ceremony I heard a lot of pleasing words about my team. Everyone noted Game 6, in which the boys managed to come back from trailing 2-0. It means a lot and I thank my players for that. Do I still have room for trophies at my house? I have shelves and they’re not empty – the trophies either lie or stand on them. But there’s still room for one more trophy.
“I met Mikhail Milyokhin at the milestone season-closing ceremony. Our Loko competed against his SKA-1946 in last year’s Kharlamov Cup Finals. To be honest with you, I thought we were going to face them again in the finals this year, especially since they had finished on top of the league in regular season. Besides, they’re coached by Alexander Savchenkov. We know each other through Lokomotiv system. I didn’t expect to see Avto in the finals but the series against them turned out to be amazing.”