The players and coaches of Avangard-2006 were photographed as part of applying to play in the Gazprom Neft Cup 2017. For the guys, this is one more step on the road to the main children’s tournament, preparation for which goes on throughout the season.
In the words of senior team coach Sergei Tarasov, in order to achieve the best results, it is vital to practice more and not let up.
“The Gazprom Neft Cup is our main competition this year, so we’re preparing for it in a serious way, right from the beginning of the season. We have made our selection, we went to training camp for the first time — and all in order to prepare for this tournament. We’ve already played in three tournaments: in Novokuznetsk, Tyumen, and St Petersburg. Now our boys are at the age where leaders are changing around a little, one might fade into the background, others emerge, but we maintain an environment within the team where everyone respects everyone else, so that it’s all friendly.”
What kind of possibilities would a victory in this tournament open up for the hockey players?
“This tournament is the most serious one at this stage. It’s the first time there will be a lot of media there, the games are televised, and the stands at the stadium will be full. It’s an unforgettable feeling, for the boys this is going to be a real feast!”
The young hockey players don’t complain about getting tired in practice, quite the opposite, they’re ready to practice eight days a week. And that’s no surprise, since they have something to aim for. The guys have their idols, the ones they want to live up to. For the captain of the team, that’s the Avangard adult team’s captain Yevgeny Medvedev.
And striker Vladimir Timoshenko likes the team’s new forward David Booth.
"I like his playing style, and I want to be like him. I practice a lot, so that I can score goals, I sweat it out every day, and in games, and in practice I’m always trying my best every minute. We really want to win the Gazprom Neft Cup, to prove that Avangard is the best! The 2004 team also tried hard, they got to the final. And we’re going to try to take first place!
The team coach thinks that the boys have every chance for victory. The only thing that could hamper them is their age, and that you just have to deal with.
“Stability and reliability — these are tricky qualities for children. But we are doing everything we can in order to prepare our young hockey players for adult and professional tournaments,” said Sergei Tarasov. “I think that we’re on the right track!”
In the course of preparations for the tournament, the boys will be playing against several other opponents, and the games of the Gazprom Neft Cup will take place at the end of April.