24.09.2020 в 13:00


JHL continues the Fan Story series. In today’s edition we’re going to sit down with Sergei Lyakhovsky – Ladiya Togliatti fan. He spoke about how he got into hockey, true fan criteria and also send motivational words to his team for the season.

Making acquaintance with hockey

“First time I came to a hockey game was when I was three years old. That was back in 1993 or 1994. My parents and I would go to Lada home games and we still do. It just so happened that it was then that the foundation for my love for hockey was built. But my first real memories begin around the time when I was six years old, albeit fragmentarily. Around that time, I also developed attraction for various hockey memorabilia such as pins and game programs. So it’s difficult to pin-point one certain moment when I came to realize that I was a hockey fan. Hockey has been a part of my life for a very long time.”

First game

“If I’m not mistaken, my first Lada game as well as the first season are completely gone from my memory. Probably because Junior Hockey League launch was eclipsed by the start of KHL season. Back then men’s team did their best to stay in the league and I followed it more closely. All I can remember about the season that it wasn’t a very good one and as a result they finished dead last.”

Road trip

“Unlike men’s team, to some of which road games I do travel, I still haven’t travelled to a single away game of Ladiya. Although, while I studied in Kazan I was fortunate enough to come to a game between local Bars and Ladiya. The game was held on February 23rd, 2011 and Togliatti team had a rough time. That game remains the only ‘road’ game under my belt. Other than that, I follow away games on Junior Hockey League YouTube channel.”

Fan-sector traditions

“There is no special fan-club of the junior team. But the men’s team does have one. Its representatives come to the game when they can and actively support the team. But due to objective reasons it doesn’t happen as often as we would like. Unfortunately, the team’s results are a far cry from those Togliatti is used to expect. And the games often start at an inopportune time. But having said that, everyone does their best to follow the team through online broadcasts and social media. The fans live through up and downs together with the team. Does the fan-sector have its rules? The most important rule is to support your team all through the game and push it forward relentlessly! Slackers are not welcome at the fan-sector.”

Memorable games

“I would rather point out not a single game but a while series of the 2012-13 playoffs against HC Klin. Although, that was back when Ladiya played in JHL-B but it was still a very emotional series. A true playoff experience, much like in Junior Hockey League. The battles that Ladiya players fought on the ice and the fans did on social media, I’m certain, many will recall. And HC Klin players were also ready to engage with Togliatti fans on the Internet, which only added tension to the series. Internet battlefields were peppered with a lot of letters. Fans of both teams tried to prove to each other who was in fact the better team. I think a lot of people in Klin remember the series as well. Unfortunately, that team doesn’t exist anymore. People sincerely supported it and took it to the heart. As for Togliatti players, instead of wasting energy on Internet battles proved everything with three wins and making it to next round. It’s was truly very emotional because that’s what playoffs are all about.”

Three criteria of a true fan

- Support his team even when no one believes in it
- Knows when to praise and when it’s better to criticize
- Doesn’t leave the stands until the final buzzer

Gameplan from the stands

“Boys, first of all I wish you to avoid injuries, constantly get better and give everything it takesto bring JHL playoffs back to Togliatti. As Sergei Nailyevitch Gimayev once said: “You can’t afford playing bad hockey in Togliatti”. Even though he said it about the men’s team, his words should give you extra motivation as well. You have what it takes to write a new page in the history of Togliatti hockey. You just have to believe in it!”