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Coach of Dinamo (Minsk): “Competition within the Team is Just Crazy!”

8 April 2015 | Interview

The children’s team of the Minsk Dinamo Sports School consisting of players born in 2004 continues preparing for the group stage of the Gazprom Neft Cup. Very soon, the players from Minsk will go to St Petersburg to fight on the ice against Lokomotiv (Yaroslavl) and Donbass (Donetsk) for the right to play in the playoffs. Read about the competition within the team and the goals is has set for the tournament in a piece prepared by the Minsk Dinamo Hockey Club press service specially for our website.

At the entrance to the ice rink, where the team is practicing, there are parents of the young hockey players talking, discussing pressing issues, children’s education, and upcoming travels to tournaments. Young players are on the ice. They are having their practice and fully absorbed in the game. Even if they start thinking about something else, the mentor’s whistle immediately brings them back to reality, which is the ice, the stick, and the puck.

The boys are encouraged by the results of their 2003-team at the last year’s Gazprom Neft Cup: struggles at their home Chizhovka Arena resulted in Dinamo players ranking first in the West Group and their going to the group semi-finals, and although at that stage the team was defeated by the Moscow Dynamo players, the Minsk team’s achievement is still inspiring its successors. And now the blue-and-whites are planning to go further this year.

The final stage of preparations for the Gazprom Neft Cup, 2015, Minsk. Courtesy of the Minsk Dinamo Hockey Club press service.

The young hockey players are closely watched by their coach Denis Bulgakov. Even though his trainees lack some skills, it is more than compensated with their boundless energy and a desire to learn new things. During the training sessions, emotions run high (or, putting it like hockey players would do, “over the banking board”), fully justifying the slogan on the training jerseys of the Belarusian participants of the upcoming Gazprom Neft Cup.

Coach instructing young hockey players, 2015, Minsk. Courtesy of the Minsk Dinamo Hockey Club press service.

A grown-up schedule is in place here: the practice lasted an hour or so, and then the players went to the locker room. The team coach Denis Bulgakov stops to answer a few questions about preparing for the Gazprom Neft Cup:

— We have been preparing for a long time and with specific goals in mind. The guys have a lot of enthusiasm for the tournament. Everyone dreams to be part of the 2004-team and does his best in the rink.

— Will it be the first serious tournament in the career of your trainees?

— Yes, of course. And competition for a ticket to the tournament is just crazy! Of course, the boys understand that not everyone will be on the ultimate team roster.

— What does this tournament mean for you and the players?

— We are eager to win the tournament. To show good results. It is clear that we’ll be facing very, very strong opponents; actually, we understand that we are going to the Gazprom Neft Cup to have a real struggle.

“No Retreat, No Surrender!” says the slogan on the jerseys of the young Minsk athletes, 2015, Minsk. Courtesy of the Minsk Dinamo Hockey Club press service.

— Is the team ready to win in the West Group and go to the Super Final?

— It’s the only thing we are thinking about. We don’t have any other thoughts about the outcome of the tournament.

But I want to emphasize, no matter how tough the sports is, our trainees are still children, and participation in the tournament, regardless of the outcome, will boost their ice hockey skills.

Teams mentioned Dinamo (Minsk) Dinamo Minsk