About the League
Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk forward Dmitry Sheshin won a silver medal as a member of Team Russia at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. Junior Hockey League media relations department spoke to Sheshin, who shared a lot of interesting details about the tournament, which was held in Sweden.
- Fjallraven Center, where the tournament was taking place, has a peculiar location – right at the Gulf of Bothnia shore.
- To be honest with you, I was really surprised by the location of the arena. We have played at similar places before. Although, sometimes during pre-game off-ice warm-up our ball would go all the way into the sea. We had street soccer rules for that kind of thing – whoever kicked it into the sea had to and retrieve it. I had to chase after the ball a few times, too. I got lucky both times because the ball between the rocks that were close to the sea. But there was one time when someone had to fish the ball out from the sea using a hockey stick.
- Unfortunately, the stands were half-empty at Team Russia games.
- We didn’t pay much attention to how many people there were in the stands. What was important for us is that we played the game we loved and we played to win. Personally, I couldn’t care less whether it was loud or quite at the arena. I just focus on the game. Although, I have to admit that the difference between round robin and final playoff games was noticeable. When the stands were full, the atmosphere was more intense and you could hear the fans well.
- On the eve of the final game it was announced that you were voted Team Russia’s best player by other nations’ coaches. Did that affect your game in the final?
- I learned about it after that during the closing ceremony. That information was published online but I try to steer clear from the Internet before the games. I use my phone just to listen to the music. As the matter of fact, they didn’t take our phones away. We totally could be online. It’s just that everyone knows well how to rest and get ready for the games. So we didn’t abuse social media.
- You didn’t post anything to Instagram after the final game either.
- I have an Instagram account but I don’t spend much time there. I can scroll through the newsfeed and see what’s going on in my friends’ lives but I rarely post anything myself. I’m not an active user. Although, my teammates tagged me in their pictures. Besides, I have a lot of photos on my phone as well as in my parents’ archive.
- What did you feel when you heard your name announced among top players?
- To be honest with you, it was a little surprising. I thought that goaltender Yaroslav Askarov was going to get the award because they had given the award to forward Rodion Amirov and defenseman Semyon Chistyakov. Of course, it was overwhelming. It was a great feeling. Every top player got a watch. I love it but I only wear it to important events. So now you’ll be able to see me wearing them only at official events.
- You scored two points (1g, 1a) at the world championship, while some of your teammates had much better statistics. Do you think you managed to get noticed by scouts?
- Maybe they noticed my work ethic. I did my best in every situation. When I was trusted to play on a penalty kill unit, I did my best to protect my net. I gave everything I had. Vladimir Viktorovich Filatov said only that I had to capitalize on my scoring chances better. During the games he was giving me advice on situations I could have done better in.
- Some media outlets didn’t even pin you as the one who scored the goal…
- I scored my goal in a round robin game against Team Latvia. My teammates Danil Guschin and Marat Khusnutdinov had created several scoring chances. Our line had been in the offensive zone for a while. Their goaltender stopped my shot with his shoulder but I was first on the rebound and beat him between the pads with a backhand shot. Perhaps, someone thought that the puck ended up in the net off one of my teammates but I was the one credited with the goal in the boxscore.
In any case, my assist in the semifinal game against Team USA was more memorable. I managed to get a helper on Amirov’s goal. When we opened up the scoring and put our team in front, I felt ecstatic in the first ten seconds or so. Then they congratulated us on the bench and we had to calm down. We had to keep on playing and forget about the goal.
- The game went to the shootout. Russia lost to USA at the 2017 World Juniors in the shootout. Back then the players got confused about the number of attempts the teams were getting.
- It wasn’t like that this time around. We knew for certain how many shootout attempts we were getting. Our coaching staff named those who was going to take them. I wasn’t on the list but it didn’t make me sad. I really wanted our team to win. Vladimir Viktorovich Filatov came to us after the game and said that I had to take the last shootout attempt. It’s just that Amirov scored and Askarov made a save, so I didn’t have to shoot. Am I frustrated? Absolutely not. Obviously, it would have been great to score the shootout-winner in such a game but I could have scored in overtime as well. We didn’t capitalize on a lot of chances in that game.
- Aside from you, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk delegated Yegor Spiridonov to Team Russia. However, you were put on separate lines.
- It’s not surprising. At previous tournaments with Team Russia we also played just a few shifts together. I was working on my chemistry with Arseny Gritsyuk and Yegor Chinakhov. Although, our coaches had to shuffle the lines along the game and we would play an odd shift together here and there. Coaches knew that we didn’t have to waste time on building chemistry because we play for the same club. Besides, Yegor was competing at his second U18 IIHF World Championship. Vasily Podkolzin and him always gave us advice and led from experience.
- It often so happens at these short tournaments that a team that beats another team in round robin can’t beat the same opponent in the playoffs. The tendency proved right in your matchup against USA. Have you thought about it before the final game against Team Sweden?
- We didn’t think of that before the final. We did our best not to get in over our heads, actually. As for the game against USA, we wanted to rehabilitate ourselves and make up for the loss in round robin. So whatever we changed was psychological.
- When the score was 3-3 in the final, game officials waved off one of your team’s goals. Was that the most frustrating moment for you at the tournament?
- I remember the episode well. The guys who were on the ice – Podkolzin, for example – said the puck had definitely crossed the line. But it just so happened that you couldn’t see the puck from any angle on any replay. And referees can’t confirm a goal if they don’t see it. So from the rules point of view, they were perhaps right. We re-watched the episode again after the game – everyone wanted a different decision.
It was one of the most frustrating moments of the tournament. We lost to the Swedes in little things. That disallowed goal along with several scoring chances we couldn’t convert on… So it was very frustrating in the first couple of minutes in the dressing-room. Those moments kept going through my mind. Then the coaches came in and congratulated us on winning medals. It felt like everything went back to normal after a while but even after a couple of hours and even the next day I felt a bit out of place.- There’s a tradition to bring souvenirs to teammates from big tournaments. Did you follow it?