Vlad Lyubimov is one of the youngest in his team, but he’s already a real Atlant. It’s said that in today’s ice hockey, success depends on the goalkeeper, so the outcome for the whole team rests on his — not yet fully grown — shoulders. And then there’s the Gasprom Neft Cup to prepare for. But the young goalie can take the pressure, with a little help from his teammates.
Goalkeeper for Atlant-2003
The Gazprom Neft Cup is really cool. We are all very excited. But I’m the goalie, and I have to stay calm.
The boys from Atlant — a team based in Moscow region — already have some tournaments behind them. They have competed in Moscow competitions and regional championships. But this will be the first time they are up against opponents from all over Europe, and they are taking the preparations very seriously. Muscle stretching, strength training, acceleration practice and (most importantly) tactics. The boys’ coach Gennady Kurochkin, views the Gazprom Neft Cup as a top-level competition, and he believes that physical strength is not enough to win. This Tournament is not just for the strong. It’s for the smart.
Atlant- 2003 coach
The quality of the teams in the Gazprom Neft Cup is higher than in any other Tournament. It’s the most serious forum for young hockey players. The boys have got to show their technical skill, their individual and physical qualities. I expect to see mature ice hockey — ahead of the players’ actual age.
Do what the coach says and always back up your teammates. That is the formula for success at the Tournament for Ivan Lykov, the top scorer with Atlant.
Forward with Atlant-2003
We are going to show everything we can do at the Tournament, because we play as a team!
Last year, Atlant-2002 didn’t do so well in the Gazprom Neft Cup — they came12th. These boys certainly want to do better than that. But they have promised not to get upset, whatever happens. They understand that in a tournament like this just taking part is a terrific sporting experience!