The best hockey player of the 20th century, Vladislav Tretyak, turned 69, and we decided to congratulate the legend on a double holiday.
Indeed, on the same day, April 25, it was exactly 15 years since the Tretyak runs the Russian Ice Hockey Federation.
– Vladislav Alexandrovich, did you celebrate your birthday on a grand scale?
– No, everything was modest. Traditionally, I gathered a small circle of friends. But I’m thinking more about next year. Recently I called Lev Leshchenko, he was born on February 1, 1942. I congratulated him, and Lyovushka asks: “Vladik, are you preparing for the anniversary?” – “To which? I have it next year. ” – “Me too! But it’s already possible to prepare ”.
So we began to prepare. And now there is no need to walk. Moreover, Holy Week is outside, a lot of hockey work.
– You have been running the Ice Hockey Federation for 15 years. What achievements do you consider to be the main ones?
– Our tasks do not change – this is the development of mass and children’s sports, the successful performance of the national teams. Now in the world ranking we are the second after Canada, our women are the fourth. Russia ranks first in terms of the amount of awards over the past 10 years: we have four gold medals at the world championships, the Canadians and the Swedes have three each, the Finns have two, and the Czechs have one. For the first time since Soviet times, we even have three-time world champions: Alexander Ovechkin, Danis Zaripov, Ilya Nikulin, Alexei Tereshchenko. We believe that there will be four times as well. And, which is very important, the “gold” of the Olympics returned to Russia.
Ten years ago there were only 140 skating rinks in Russia, and today there are already 790 of them. We entered the government program for the development of skating rinks and by 2024 we are to build 50 more skating rinks, as well as three sports centers.
– The World Cup in Riga will be very difficult due to the pandemic. What can we expect from the tournament?
– Latest news – preparations for the World Cup are going according to plan. The only thing is that the organizers want to get permission from the Latvian government so that 2,500 spectators would be allowed to one skating rink, and 1,000 to the other, so that some fans from nearby countries could come to the World Cup. But today it is difficult to talk about it, because the situation in Latvia is not very good, everything is closed there until now.
Hockey players will live in a bubble, separate from everyone else. Even IIHF board members are not allowed to communicate with them. The atmosphere will be like a war. I repeat, this is for today.
– With you in the federation, such a word as “refusenik” disappeared. How did you change that?
– This was the main task of the FHR, me, as president, – it was necessary to restore confidence in our team.
As a rule, at that time, coaches blamed all their failures on hockey players, blaming them for not wanting to play. Although they themselves called them! And then they hung all the dogs on them. I think it was unfair. After all, NHL hockey players after a grueling tournament could just go on vacation with their family. And they were also discussing new contracts. But the players came to the Russian national team. And there, after defeats, they were branded: they say, they are not laid out on the ice. Therefore, the hockey players stopped coming, they found completely different, even minor reasons.
I myself have traveled to all the NHL clubs, met with the players at matches, lunches and dinners. He said that we in the national team will create all the conditions for them. The attitude will be the best.
– Will the leader of the New York Rangers Artemy Panarin come to the World Championship this year?
– We really want Artemy to play for the national team, because he is a really great hockey player, shows a good result. But due to his circumstances, he said that he could not help the team.
– And you called Panarin?
– There was a preliminary conversation, since the NHL regular season is still ongoing. We wish good luck to all our guys: let them play in their clubs and fight for the Stanley Cup. But for some reason Panarin said: “Unfortunately, I will not be able to come to the national team this year”. As far as I know, Artemy referred to the fact that it was a tough NHL championship and that it would be difficult for him to live in coronavirus isolation for another period.
– Is he a refusenik after that?
– I do not want to judge anyone. Then the hockey players still return to their home, to Russia. And the country always accepts them. I think: if possible, a hockey player should play for his national team. Anything can happen, we understand. But the athlete must repay his debt to his country, which raised him and gave him a name.
Photo: A. Avilov / Moscow Agency.