April 15, 2001
ALEXANDER TYZHYKH: Hockey is My Life
Alexander Tyzhnykh is a famous product of
the Soviet system. He has been brought up in Chelyabinsk hockey school and
already at the age of 18 in 1976 he became European Champion with under-18
Team USSR. It hasn't been an easy matter for him to compete with another
legendary Soviet goaltender Vladimir Myshkin for the spot on the roster.
Nevertheless his magnificent play earned him the place not only on the
national team but in the line-up of invincible CSKA Moscow where Vladislav
Tretyak was a starter. Sasha, that's how people in North America call him,
recently spoke with Denis Neznanov of HockeyZonePlus about his vision of
contemporary Russian hockey and about the upcoming the World Junior
Championships for under-18 teams in Finland.
How often do you attend
games of the Russian Championships?
I visit Russia approximately 5-6 times per
season. I attend different hockey tournaments and matches. This time I've
come here to see the finals of the Russian Hockey Championships among the
players of 1984-1985 year of birth. I've also chanced to follow the
development events in the Russia's finals for the players of 1986 year of
birth. Later I plan to go to St. Petersburg to see second Russia's
national team. Then I should be in Finland for under-18 WJC.
Is there anything
interesting that you notice in modern Russian hockey?
You know there are lots of changes. More
and more rich clubs have emerged in contemporary Russia. Many clubs are
seriously interested in the development of children hockey. I think
presidents of numerous clubs realize that children hockey is the hockey of
future. One of the brightest examples is Khimik Voskresensk of the Higher
League. The coaches do here a tremendous amount of work in the development
of children hockey. If hockey people work this way all over the country
then there will be much more world class players who will play in the
Superleague and in the NHL.
What relates you to the
near Moscow club Khimik Voskresensk?
Three players whom I represent are on this
team. One of them is Pavel Sedov who has been drafted by Tampa Bay
Lightning last year. I come this town and watch his play. I usually
meet Pavel and have a talk with him about his plans for the next season. I
solve his problems if he has any. Also I try to help the bosses of Khimik
club with my hockey knowledge. From time to time I help the players from
other teams to find their place in Khimik Voskresensk. I see that people
who work in this town have developed very good towards attitude hockey. I
like it very much. I want to work with them and help this club. Some of
the players I represent have chances to reach NHL pretty soon.
Could you please tell a
little bit more how you became hockey agent?
It has happened quite unexpectedly. By some
lucky chance. I left for Canada in 1989 and has been playing with Edmonton
Oilers for two years. Then I spent some time with Edmonton's
affiliate. Later I decided to organize my own hockey centers. I have
five schools in different cities of Canada. Vladislav Tretyak has been
helping me with my work for two years. Also there was a couple of other
great names like Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergey Fedorov, Peter Mahovlich
who have been involved in the process of work. In general many outstanding
people helped me to open hockey schools all over North America. We have
been working with children at the improvement of their skating and many
other important aspects of play for a week or two.
It has been much later when one of the mothers offered me with my
tremendous knowledge in this sphere to try myself as a hockey agent of her
son. She believed in my great potentialities and trusted in my
numerous contacts all over the world. This is how I began my agent's
I work all the year round without day-offs
and good rest. I travel a lot all over the North America, Europe and
Russia. We are a well-to-do company and try to keep pace with modern
hockey life. I love my job. Quite recently we started to represent
Russian players in the North America and Russia. One of them is Alexander
Khavanov who is with St. Louis Blues now. It has been a great riddle for
many hockey experts how it came that he has been drafted at the age of 28.
Our company tried to do themselves best in the advancement of this player
at the 2000 NHL Draft.
The other client of our company Dmitry
Upper is now in Kazan with AkBars. We hope that next year he will play
with NY. Islanders. In general we work with young players. They are 15- 18
years of age kids. We also represent some Canadian and European players.
For example two years ago I brought to Russia six Canadians. My work
consists of two simple things: to find work for players and to do good
contract for them.
What is your opinion of the
coming 2001 NHL Draft? Do you think there will be drafted any older
Yes, you are right that there is a tendency
to draft older players. It's easy to explain. Now there are 30 teams in
the NHL. They had to search for experienced 25-27 years of age players.
The experts pay attention to Alexander Zhdan, Roman Kukhtinov, Vitaly
Proshkin and Andrey Razin. The final decision will be made after senior
World Championships in Germany. The scouts will keep an eye on many older
players from Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic and Russia. They have chances
to be drafted after rounds 5-6.
Do you agree that
Soviet/Russian goaltender's school is rapidly loosing its traditions?
I'm quite agree with you. I tried to stop
this process. I've been in my native club Tractor Chelyabinsk for 2-3
days. I found 2 hours for a daily work with the goaltenders of the team. I
guess it's necessary to do everywhere. The bosses of Russian clubs should
hire wise people who have been playing goaltenders. They must pay them for
their work. It's high time to do it now. Unfortunately many teams are not
interested in offering the jobs of this kind for the people who work only
Let's talk about Russia's
Junior Team. Could you explain anyway its recent failure at the
recent WJC in Moscow?
We lost the system which relates the head
coaches of the Russian clubs and its national teams. There must be an only
man who is responsible for the selection of players who will form national
team. Peter Vorobyev is a highly respected hockey expert but he hasn't had
any chance to see in action many players of his team before the start of
WJC. Russia needs a man who will regularly meet the players and have a
talk with each of those who pretend to make the national team. I think
that the choice of players that's the thing to blame for the recent
failure in Moscow. I simply don't understand why Krylia's Frolov and
CSKA's Mozyakin haven't been called-up. Vorobyev should do it for sure!
The last WJC has demonstrated that there are lots of equal teams among the
juniors. Swedes, Finns, Czechs, Canadians or Russians may win any time. I
hope the officials of the Russian Hockey Federations will draw some
conclusions. Next year everything will be ok for the Russian team.
Your predictions of the
just stated in Finland WJC for under-18 teams? Has Russian Team any
chances to win it?
Without any doubts Team Russia is favorite
number one. "Five Nations Tournaments" where the Russians
dominated all year round is the brightest example of its strength. I've
been watching this team for two years and like it very much. I sympathize
with its head coach Vladimir Pluschev who is a great enthusiast of his
business. He is a wise thoughtful man who knows well how to work
with this age of players. He has a well-balanced team formed of
outstanding goaltenders, defensemen and forwards. The team has excellent
group of leaders such as Kovalchuk and Trubachev. Russia has everything to
win the title of the World Champions. I will also pay attention to Team
USA and Finland. They are contenders for the gold of WJC. In the final
many things will depend upon the referees decisions. It's difficult to
predict something but I hope Russia will become World Champions.
HockeyZonePlus' Russian Correspondent