ALEXANDER GUSKOV: “OUR PLAYERS’ HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY BUT WE DO NOT SUCCUMB TO PANIC”

ALEXANDER GUSKOV: “OUR PLAYERS’ HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY BUT WE DO NOT SUCCUMB TO PANIC”
23.07.2020 в 16:00
ALEXANDER GUSKOV: “OUR PLAYERS’ HEALTH IS OUR PRIORITY BUT WE DO NOT SUCCUMB TO PANIC”
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Parimatch Junior Hockey League regular season start is a little more than a month away. The season is going to be the first for the league’s new director Alexander Guskov, who is also KHL junior hockey development vice-president. Guskov spoke about pressing issues with Junior Hockey League media relations department.

- How are preparations for the 12th Junior Hockey League season, which is going to be your first as its director, season going?
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We’re getting ready in standard mode. We don’t succumb to panic regarding coronavirus pandemic and plan to start the regular season in early September. There is a lot of work to be done but we calmly address all issues. We’re eagerly await the start of the 12th season.

- When are you going to announce the final list of participants?
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We’re going to have the final list sometime late in July after the league’s board meeting. ORG Junior Beijing and Altay Ust-Kamenogorsk will not participate in the 2020-21 Parimatch Junior Hockey League season. We’re also going to have a new team joining the league – JHC Mikhailov Academy. All other teams have submitted the necessary documents to participate in the season.

- Are there going to be any changes in league regulations due to the epidemiological situation and what instructions do the teams will need to follow?
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All Junior Hockey League teams have received recommendations for administrating sanitary and anti-epidemiological measures for preparation and holding pre-season amps and regular season games. Currently, Russian Agency For Health And Consumer Rights confirmed 33 coronavirus cases. We closely following the situation and inform the teams about all new recommendations. KHL medical department provides methodical support to all teams that require it.

- This year’s Sirius Junior Club World Cup was cancelled. Do you have any plans for the tournament in 2021?
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First of all, it’s really frustrating that we had to cancel the event. But Sirius Junior Club World Cup is an annual tournament and we definitely plan to have it back next year. We discuss all details with Sirius educational center and hope that soon we’ll be able to have good news about Junior Club World Cup to the fans.

- Thanks to Your Chance program several players enjoyed decent season in Junior Hockey League. This year the program was cancelled. What are your thought on its future?
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It’s a very good project, which allows players to get noted and get a chance to sign with a team right before the season. It’s another program that we plan to have annually. Such projects push young players to battle till the end and take every opportunity to achieve their coveted dream.

- Kazakhstan is going through the second wave of the pandemic. Is it possible that Snezhnye Barsy Nur-Sultan will participate in the upcoming Junior Hockey League season?
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There is a lot of negative regarding the pandemic right now. Nevertheless, Snezhnye Barsy have submitted the paperwork to participate in the season. The league has all of the necessary documents. As of right now, they have slightly adjusted their pre-season plans. It was supposed to start on July 5th, but they’re going to open their camp later now and we’ll see how it goes from then. Hopefully, the second wave is going to cool down. Lately, as we’ve been informed by our colleagues on the team, the wave started to go down and the team plans to open their camp in early August and begin preparing for the regular season.

- Another non-Russian Junior Hockey League team is HK Riga. Will they participate in the season?
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We have received all necessary documents from Riga and plan to have them among participants of the season.

- Due to latest events, should we expect changes in the schedule comparing to last season?
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We don’t expect to have any drastic changes. In order to have serious changes we’re going to adjust the teams’ logistics. It would require a certain budget and Junior Hockey League teams have troubles with that. Difficult epidemiologic situation worsens the situation so it would be quite difficult to make drastic changes.

- JHC Mikhailov Academy is going to be a new team in the league this season. Could you tell about the project and what should be expected of the team’s inaugural Junio Hockey League season?
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The team is based on a junior hockey school. In 2018 it was named Novomoskovsk Hockey Club. In the 2018-19 season the was built from scratch, joined NJHL and made it to the semifinal round. The following season the team was rebranded as Mikhailov Academy and once again made the playoffs. Unfortunately, NJHL season was also cancelled and we’re never going to know what the team could have achieved this spring. This season they’re going to represent Tula Region in Junior Hockey League. They have submitted all the necessary documentation and we expect the team to play exiting brand of hockey. Rookies are usually given scrupulous attention and are expected to surprise so there won’t have any problems with motivation. It’s also important to note that the team and hockey in general in the region are supported by governor Alexei Gennadyevich Dyumin. The region has a good hockey program and we’re going to follow the rookies with interest.

- U20 Team Russia invited to its first camp players almost exclusively with Junior Hockey League experience. What are you hopes for the players and what do you expect of them at the World Juniors?
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Every year junior Team Russia is expected to win gold. At last season’s World Juniors the team suffered a frustrating loss and failed to win gold. This year they’re going to have an excellent chance to redeem themselves and they have everything that it takes. Igor Larionov, who has a profound experience in hockey, has a lot to share with his boys and much to teach them. I think he’s also eager to win the long awaited gold at the World Juniors at the upcoming tournament. There are always a lot of Junior Hockey League representatives on junior Team Russia and this season is not going to be an exception. I with the team and its new head-coach to bring joy to Russia and come back from Canada with World Junior gold medals.


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