About the League
Forward Denis Vengryzhanovsky made his debut for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod just a month ago but he already scored two goals in KHL. He spoke about his emotions from the games, athletic childhood and goals against CSKA Moscow in this interview.
- Denis, this season brought you a lot of hockey emotions and new beginnings. You made your KHL debut in September in the game against Amur Khabarovsk. Do you remember how you felt stepping onto the ice for the first time as Torpedo player?
- It was a over-whelming feeling, which are impossible to describe with words. I did my best to calm down and stay focused to play well. Interestingly, I felt confident prior to my debut game but I was a little nervous before my second. I don’t know why it was like that.
- How were you met by your Torpedo teammates and who supported you the most in your first days on the team?
- The boys really made us feel welcome. They showed us around and gave us advice. Everyone helped us out – the players, the staff and coaching staff. It was really important for us.
- What was the best advice you got rom coaches and more experienced teammates?
- The most important piece of advice I was given was to stop worrying, do not make any unnecessary commotion and clear the head. I just had to do what I know and demonstrate my best abilities on ice.
- How would you describe in a few words beating CSKA Moscow on the road?
- It was a real fairy tale for me. To score two goals on the reigning champions… I had seen those guys only on TV before the game. I now I was up against them on the ice. To be frank, it took me a while to realize that I scored the first goal and then the second. It realized that I scored twice on such a great opponent only the next morning.
- Could you walk us through those goals?
- In the first instance we dumped the puck in and went to forecheck. Coaches warned us that their goaltender was playing his first game of the season and he might be prone to make mistakes. And that’s exactly what happened. Danil Voyevodin and I took advantage of it. As for the second goal, Ziyat Paigin skated down the whole rink, the puck bounced to me and I happened to take a lucky shot. I’m thankful to the boys for the opportunities.
- The following day a photo appeared on the Internet, in which your grandmothers were holding up your pictures, receiving congratulations from father Alexei, the head of Church of Christ Birth in Mukhtolovo village. Was there a huge party in the parts where you from?
- My mom told me that they received a lot of calls and congratulations. Wherever she we would go, everyone knew about the game. The photo with father Alexei wasn’t an accident either. He plays hockey himself and roots for Torpedo. And he called my grandmother after the game to congratulate her. Actually, I want to thank all of our fans. I received a lot of kind words. I didn’t even expect that there would so many.
- Incidentally, could you share your story about making to hockey’s big stage from the boonies of Nizhny Novgorod region? What was your journey from Kulebaki to Torpedo like?
- When I was a kid, I thought I would be a soccer player. But when a rink was erected in our town, I saw kids playing hockey and I really liked it. My father signed me up for a hockey school and that’s how it all started. I fell in love with the game since Day 1. I had fire in my eyes, my father saw that and supported it. He used to play hockey himself and he wanted to make my dream come true. I’m very grateful to him for that.
- How would you like to thank for making it this far?
- My parents and also my grandparents who would take me to practices as far as 100km away to Sarov. I would also like to thank my first coach Oleg Vladimirovich Khokhlov, who still works with kids back in Kulebaki. When I come home for a visit, I meet him often and we host practices together for young hockey players. When I made Torpedo coach Yuri Ivanovich Fyodorov saw something in me and he took me on his team. I’m very grateful to him as well.
- Did you have any idols growing up that you wanted to be like?
- I would say that it probably was Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. I always like the way they played.
- You have already become and icon for KHL TV commentators. They remembered your last name well, while Natalia Klark went on to call it noble. Do you know anything about your last name?
- It’s a Polish last name and my family has had it for generations and centuries. Not only commentators struggled with it but also my teachers back in school. I knew where I was on the roll-call and when they would announce he guy’s name before me it was always followed by a pause. It was kind of fun (laughs).
- Do you often get asked about Dom-2’s Ventseslav?
- People jokingly ask it all the time. Whether we’re related or not. I can assure you that not only we are not relatives, we don’t even have the same last name. Ventseslav’s last name misses a letter. Although, I would admit that it’s hard to spot.
- When asked about your hockey dreams last year you responded that you wanted to make your debut for Torpedo. Now that you achieved that, what is your new goal?
- Simply making the team isn’t enough. Now I have to make progress, become a regular and help my team win!