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June 5, 2001

Vadim Khamitsky:
Another Russian Defense Star for the Dallas Stars?

1999/00 Khimik Vos-2 (Div-1) 9-1-0-1-16 
1999/00 Khimik Vos-Team 1983 (Open Moscow Championships) 6-0-0-0-8 
1999/00 Khimik Voskresensk 15-0-0-0-31 
2000/01 HC CSKA Moscow

Do you know the difference between the Khimik Voskresensk and the other Russian clubs? It's the team whose hockey school is considered one of the most productive in the world. Unfortunately many of its graduates rarely manage to make the roster of senior Khimik Voskresensk team because of the high competition for the spot and they have to look for the other possibilities to play at the high level. People say that there are more than 100 Khimik Voskresensk products who play now in the two top Russian leagues: Superleague and Higher one. One of them is talented NHL prospect Vadim Khamitsky. The almost-19-year-old Dallas draftee recently spoke with Denis Neznanov, from HockeyZonePlus, about his career and plans for the 2001/02 season.

What has predetermined your choice to devote you life to ice hockey? Or in other words, what has made you to become a professional player?

Actually first of all I must tell that I've started to play hockey very late for such an outstanding hockey country as Russia. I've been already nine years old when I went in for this kind of sport. Usually the coaches prefer not to work with the kids of this age because they need too many things to learn not to lack behind the group. My case has been quite different because I've been already a good skater by that time. So Vladimir Syrtsov who has brought me up to the level of junior national team player has admitted me in his group. Later the father of current NHLer Slava Kozlov has replaced Syrtsov. When I've been playing for the junior team of Khimik Voskresensk Nickolay Vanin has been working with me.

Can you tell anything special about your first game with main club team of Voskresensk? Do you remember that day when you've stepped onto the ice in your first play with Khimik?

I don't remember the team we been playing against but I memorize that feeling when you appear on the ice alongside with experienced players. It has been a shy appearance on the ice of the overcrowded arena. Lots of spectators and I've been feeling not quite myself.

How do you feel yourself three years later? Does it influences you any way when guest ice arena is overfilled the spectators boo your team and support their own favorites?

Oh, it's quite normal. It seems to me that mostly you get oneself into the right mood for the game than pay attention to boos of spectators.

Have you ever been playing for the Russian national team?

Yes, I've been the member of Under-20 Team Russia. I've been playing with the team at all the five international tournaments, which precede major event of the year. Unfortunately when I've been invited to the training camp of the Russian team before the start of 2001 WJC by some unknown reasons I've failed to make its roster. It's pains me a little bit but it has served me a good lesson. I've realized that I must work harder if I want to achieve something meaningful in hockey.

Do you remember the time when the scouts have contacted you for the first time?

I think it has happened three years ago or so. After the "Four Nations Tournament" which has been held in Elektrostal a hockey agent started to work with me and then numerous scouts have become interested in my play.

Who represents you now in the world of hockey and what perspective he draws to you?

Alexander Tyzhnikh is my agent. He tells that I must demonstrate a solid defensive play and then the scouts will keep an eye on me and estimate properly my skill level. Of course I passionately want to play oversea in the world's best league. NHL is my dream.

What has made you last year to change Khimik Voskresensk for HC CSKA Moscow?

I've been too young and inexperienced to make the roster of my native club team. That time the club has had great tasks. They've been fighting for the two vacant spots in the Superleague. I've been sitting on the bench. I've passionately wanted to play and that's why I've asked to send me to the other team. The bosses of Khimik Voskresensk have kindly allowed me to leave the team. In HC CSKA I've got quite enough ice time and liked very much the atmosphere in the team.

Could you tell a little bit more in detail how your new club team has received you?

I received a friendly reception in Moscow. Nearly all the players of HC CSKA have been of the same age with me. I've had lots of friends in this team. Moreover I've been lucky to play in the same line with another product of Voskresensk Sergey Bernatsky.

How profitable for you have been the terms of contract with HC CSKA?

Everything is quite good! I've recently become a student with their help and I plan to get a good diploma in four years. The most important thing I have a spot on the team and it means that I have enough time to polish my play. I'm happy that I play ice hockey in such a good club under the legendary Soviet/Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov.

How long are you going to play with HC CSKA Moscow and would you like to come back to your native team for the 01/02 season?

I still need time to make a final decision on my future. In fact I still belong to Voskresensk. Everything depends upon lots of different things. First of all I want to know the plans of Khimik for the season. What kind of team they are going to form and if they want me to join it. I also hope for unification of two CSKA clubs. If I manage to make the roster of unified CSKA which will play in the Superleague it would be excellent. Also I have nothing against my coming back to my native club team Khimik Voskresensk.

Who are you favorites among Russian players or whom you want to resemble?

Among the defensemen I like Sergey Zubov and Darius Kasparaitis play. As for forwards of course my favorites are Sergey Fedorov, Pavel Bure and Slava Kozlov.

Denis Neznanov
HockeyZonePlus' Russian Correspondent


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