Edward Sventsitsky, the Chief Referee of the East Group and Super Final at the Gazprom Neft Cup, gave an interview to our site.
— Who are the referees in charge of East Group matches?
— The Gazprom Neft Cup is a major competition, it is an official KHL tournament . So there will be highly qualified referees for all the games — referees who serve KHL, Premier League and Russian Youth Championship. Yevgeny Petrov works as assistant in KHL, Vladimir Levin and Sergei Bashkirov are chief referees in the Premier League, and we have Averchenko and Kosarezov as linesmen. There will be 40 specialists at work in total — two full brigades with 20 on the rink and 20 behind the ice.
— There are 12 teams taking part and
— Two for each referee. I am sure they will cope .
— How will you select referees for the Super Final?
— I already have an idea who to appoint for the final game. They are all experienced referees, who can ensure proper standards for the Super Final. But I want to see how they do in the Group stage first. So I won’t tell you any names so far.
— Are then any specific approaches to refereeing for this Tournament?
— Of course. You can’t apply all the rules of adult hockey when the players are children! You have to be flexible, based on what the boys are capable of. We understand that they can’t do everything at this age and you have to give them some leeway. Sometimes, they might do something wrong, not intentionally but by mistake. The chief referee has to spot when that is the case and make adjustments. This is what is hardest about refereeing children’s competitions. We hold special seminars before the Tournament, look at specific points and then communicate with the team coaches.
— The boys get very emotional. They want to prove what they can do, show their skills. How do you stop them getting over-excited?
— We always keep in mind that the players are children. Their emotions do sometimes run away with them. But in all the time that the Gazprom Neft Cup has been held in Omsk I don’t remember a single occasion when a referee penalised a player for emotions, and not for a real foul. I think the coaches will confirm that.
— How has the Gazprom Neft Cup developed since with the first time it was held?
— The Tournament gets better and better every year, it is constantly evolving. The referees I know and other experts I have talked at previous Tournaments in Omsk all say how well the events are organised.
— Who should the young hockey players try to emulate?
— They could take Ilya Dervuk, the defender with the Omsk Hawks. He learnt his hockey in Omsk. A few years ago he was playing in this Tournament, and now he’s on his way to a place in the Avangard team and will play for the Russian junior team at the World Championship. And I am sure that the Gazprom Neft Cup will discover a lot more young Russian hockey talent in the future!