15.10.2019 в 13:00


Gleb Maltsev, who lead Taifun Primorie Region defensemen in points last season, spoke to Parimatch Junior Hockey League media relations department about his transition from junior to professional hockey, changes in his career and the importance of the right mindset going into the game.

- Last season you enjoyed a spike in your production. What led you to that?
- Right after I joined Taifun I felt I was trusted. I was put on the ice in key situations and wasn’t benched after making mistakes. I felt that and worked hard at practices. All that led to high production.

- Coach’s trust was all it took?
- Yes, coach’s trust and ice-time. Everything else follows. The more you play, the more confident you get and with it come points.

- Before moving to Russia’s Far East you had played close to home. Was joining Taifun a tough decision for you?
- When something doesn’t work, you have to go for a change. I expected that joining a new team was going to help me to bring my play to another level, get more ice-time and help my team on the ice. That’s exactly what happened. In my opinion, you shouldn’t fear change. It can lead to a positive change in your career.

- You said in one of your interviews that you keep your first career goal in junior hockey on a special shelf at your place. How many pucks are on the shelf?
- I don’t count them. I usually just put there whatever they give me after that game, so I can’t give you the exact number (smiles).

- What goals would you say are the most memorable for you?
- My first goal was the most memorable. It gave a push to my whole career – first in junior hockey and then in professional.

- What town that you’ve played in does the fan support feels better?
- Obviously, in Ufa! It’s a huge city where people love their hockey. So Tolpar games always draw large crowds. Neftekamsk is smaller than Ufa but they also love hockey there and the team always has support in the stands. As the matter of fact, it’s great to play with such support. It gives you strength when times get rough.


- How long did it take you to adjust to Vladivostok?
- First week was difficult. New surroundings and the time difference… But I got used to it. At first, getting to arena seemed to take forever but it turned out that it’s just a matter of habit. Towards the end of the season I almost didn’t notice it.

- How difficult was it to get used to long flights to European part of the country?
- Actually, there weren’t that many of them. Our schedule was set up in such a way that we spent most of the first half of the season on the road and we played mostly at home in the second part. I joined the team in Nizhny Novgorod, we played several games in the European part and went to Vladivostok. After that we had a few short flights to Khabarovsk and China. We had just three 8-hour flights. 

- You were called up to a few practices with Admiral a few times. How useful was that experience?
- Obviously, it was very important for my development! Even skating with a KHL team is a grand experience. Your teammates give you advice at practices how to do better in certain situations. It’s another approach to the game and another level to which one should aspire.

- Last season you moved from Eastern Conference to Western. What are the differences between the two in your opinion?
- I thought that Western Conference hockey is faster than in the East. Other than that, I didn’t notice any significant differences. 

- Who is the biggest Taifun rival in Junior Hockey League?
- Amurskie Tigry [Khabarovsk], of course. The games against them are Far Eastern Rivalry.

- You captained Taifun for several games.
- There was a period when our captain was injured and I was given the offer. When he returned to ice, I became one of the alternate captains.

- What did you feel when you – almost a rookie – were given the captaincy?
- First of all, it was a big responsibly. Because the mindset with which the team approaches the game depends on the captain. Chemistry on ice is also an important part of the outcome. In a certain sense you help your coach to pump up the team.

- Are there any secrets on how to do that?
- There are no secrets. You have to be focused prior to the game because the outcome depends on everyone. If something goes wrong, you have to cheer up your teammate, help him and channel the energy in the right direction.

- Who was Taifun’s leader last season?
- The outcome depends on every player. Everyone has to do his share on the ice and work hard at practice. It’s difficult for me to single out anyone because success comes only with great team chemistry.

- You said in one of your interviews that you never faced difficulties playing junior hockey. Is that still so?
- Perhaps, last season was the most difficult for me. It was my final year in junior hockey. Early in the season I couldn’t get a roster spot, had to move to a new team and adapt. It was unnerving at first. But it ended well (smiles).

- What team is going to be an eye-opener this season?
- In my opinion, Tolpar should do well in the East. I know a lot of guys there and I know they have built a good team. It’s more difficult to give predictions for the West but I would like to wish Taifun good luck. There plenty of guys on the team who return from last season. We played well in the spring and with that kind of play they could battle for a playoff spot. I expect Taifun to give the fans a reason to cheer and to battle for the Kharlamov Cup.

- What would you wish to those players who have just broken into Junior Hockey League?
- First of all, you have to improve, develop and hone your skills. And, of course, you have to stay true to hockey’s main law – you have to listen to your coach and do as he tells you at practices and games.