Maxim Sokolov, Russian champion in 2004 as part of Omsk team Avangard, graduate of St Petersburg ice hockey school, and now SKA coach, had warm wishes and words of support for the players in the Gazprom Neft Cup international tournament.
Several dozen games, hundreds of practice hours, and everything is for one goal. It’s all for victory! St Petersburg SKA-2005 is in the final stages of preparation for the Gazprom Neft Cup. Last year, the army team was eighth in the West Group, and this year, Evgeny Mayorov’s pupils are getting ready to improve this result. SKA-2005 coach and captain told us about the team’s preparations for the Gazprom Neft Cup anniversary tournament.
Evgeny Mayorov, SKA-2005 team coach
What have you heard about the Gazprom Neft Cup?
E.M.: Of course, I’ve heard a lot about this tournament. Last year it was held here in St Petersburg. Without a doubt, the Gazprom Neft Cup is the most prestigious competition for this age group this season.
How did you react when you found out that your team will be taking part in this anniversary tournament?
E.M.: Positively. It’s a big honour for us to take part in such a prestigious tournament, even more so since it’s an anniversary one.
How is preparation for the tournament going? What specifically is the team working on before the serious start?
E.M.: We have a plan that we are sticking to, and that we’re working hard on. The main task is to become functionally prepared to the tournament, and, of course, to try to avoid any player injuries.
What do you think, how important is it for the kids in the
E.M.: Firstly, it’s all about the emotions, the impressions. It’s a big honour to go out on that ice, where they played the Olympic Games. Not all the guys will become big hockey players, but these kinds of tournaments really will stay in their memories for their entire lives.
Semyon Antipov, SKA-2005 team captain
Have you already discussed the task for this tournament with the team?
S.A.: Now we have a task for our best position. But we always prepare hard for every game! We go out on the ice to win. And the Gazprom Neft Cup is no exception!
What opponents would you like to play in the tournament?
S.A.: That doesn’t matter to us. Our task is to win every game.
What are you expecting and what is the main thing you’re preparing for in the Gazprom Neft Cup?
S.A.: We’re expecting and getting ready for fair play, for beautiful and uncompromising ice hockey. We wish all the teams in the tournament good luck. And no injuries!