You all probably know Sergei Shirokov, who has been signed by Vancouver today, is currently under KHL and Red Army team suspension for not signing contract extension and refusing to play with CSKA.
There are a lot of articles on this case but surprisingly close to nothing about Sergei as a player and a person. So I was able to find only one old interview with him taken by "Boevoe Bratstvo" that was published in Russian. I have translated it roughly, so sorry for mistakes and bad English.
SERGEI SHIROKOV: "WENT TO THE PRACTICES FOR HUNDRED AND TWENTY KILOMETRES"
USUALLY SLEPT ON MY WAY
- Sergei, you were born and lived as a child in the near Moscow city Ozery. This is quite far from the capital. How you managed to ride to practices to Moscow?
- Yes, my little birthplace is located approximately 120 kilometres from Moscow. I was signed up to CSKA junior hockey school by my parents. At training and matches had to travel by car or by bus. Usually slept on the road. And from the seventh grade I began to live and learn in the army sportinternate (sport-and learn campus -A.N). And so far I am with CSKA.
- And how did you combine such a long trips with school? Or have you often skip classes?
- Of course, often missed my classes in a secondary school. But it changed when I joint Red Army sport-and-learn campus, the situation has certainly changed. There were eight children born in 1986. We all learned in the same class. And the coach tried to do so as we can rarely missed lessons.
- When did you first skate?
- I was very little. Parents told that I was running inside our apartment wearing figure skates. When I was three years, father put me on ice. And, as the saying goes, it went on. My father was a sportsman, at one time played on the regional level in hockey and soccer. Interestingly, as a child, I first took the left-side stick. But my dad re-taught me to the right-side. Apparently, he believed that it would be more difficult to stop me this way for my oponents.
MANY THANKS TO ALL MY COACHES
- In what age did you join the army SPORTSCHOOL?
- I was six. A few years in conjunction with the guys that were older than me for a year. Then I joint the same-age group. My first coach was Valery Stelmakh - the kingdom of heaven to him (he passed away – A.N). He trained CSKA-85. And then I got to Andrey Parfenov. He worked along with Alexander Biriukov. Thanks to great SPORTSCHOOL CSKA, my mentors for the fact that gave me a tour of great hockey.
- Did Trainings always be happy?
- Always with a great desire to go out on the ice. Tried not to miss any training.
- What do you particularly remember from childhood?
- You can say I have a lifetime in sport. Perhaps the most memorable, when we were a team in 1986 we won the Soviet Union championship of our age group. And still vividly etched in the memory - the World Junior Championships, which I was lucky to win with the national team of Russia.
- Since the age of thirteen, you were living separately from your parents. How is it to be a child in campus with no parents?
- We had a good, friendly company of peers. I don’t account for been particularly sad.
- Have you taken some additional ice practices to improve your particular skills or the regular ones were quit enough?
- In early childhood, with my dad during the evenings, I used to go in Ozerki to the open ice. He has explained and shown something to me. When I moved to CSKA Sportschool we also worked in addition with my teammates. The coaches tried to make sure that we do not loiter.
- Do you ever play in attack?
- That’s true. From the very beginning of my sports biography I was the attacker. Sometimes the coaches put me in the center of attack. But for me it’s much better to play on the left edge.
- When did you realize that hockey has become your profession, and decided to play “for bread” (make living as professional - A.N)?
- Fifteen years old, sixteen, I think. Then I understood that in future I have to do my bat on hockey. Especially since I had knowledge gaps, for obvious reasons, in school.
I was lucky to join the excellent team as a group of people (collective)
- It is very difficult moment for the player - the transition into adult hockey. How was the way to become the member of the main CSKA roster? How difficult was it? Who helped you at that time, in particular?
- I was caught into the first team when Vyacheslav Bykov became a coach of CSKA. I got into a good team. No nobody «choked» me (pushed me done – A.N). Instead, senior teammates helped, cheered me up. In general, I have passed this phase quite smoothly.
- What was your nickname in kid’s hockey and now?
- The name did not change – “Shirok”.
- Could you give any suggestions, tips to young hockey players who dream of becoming a great master?
- I think that first of all one needs to work in the sweat of, try to insist to go to the intended purpose, despite the difficulties.
- Of those people with whom you have studied together in CSKA sportschool, someone else did break into high level?
- Yes. Dmitry Shitikov plays for «Dynamo», Michael Yunkov - with «Spartac». One guy plays in Chelyabinsk, the other - in Penza.
- Who is your friend in CSKA?
- I have all normal friendly relations. During our trips we are sharing the room with Denis Parshin. We are peers with him, so there is always something to talk about.
- Did you study somewhere in addition to school?
- Recently graduated from the Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture in Malakhovka. I studied by correspondence.
ALWAYS GO FORWARD
- Do you have some vital rules that try to adhere to?
- I do not know whether to call this rule, but I always try to go forward to achieve my goals, no matter what.
- In this season what are you going to achieve together with CSKA?
- I would like to win the championship of Russia. Although, of course, I understand that this is a difficult task. After all, in the Super League a lot of strong teams. We will fight in every game. Anyway, the team spirit is very strong.
- Do you plan to try to break into the team of Russia?
- Of course, the desire is to do so. To play in the national team – is the highest honour.
- And do you think about the NHL?
- Of course, it would be interesting to try myself overseas. NHL is the strongest league in the World. But the level of hockey in the Super League is very high. I hope our local hockey clubs will gradually approach to the NHL level of the game.
- Recently, controversy discussions were held about whether or not our hockey to change our rinks dimensions to adjust it to the NHL standards. Would be interesting to know your views on this issue.
- Canadian hockey is more fast and dynamic. There are more one-on-one battles and scoring opportunities, but the big and wide ice of the European arenas provides more opportunities for combination style of hockey. Both styles have their positive sites. Hockey is interesting if the players are skilled and talented - high-class masters, never mind the rink size.
- Fans are interested to know what kind a person are you in everyday life. What is the nature of the man Sergei Shirokov?
- You never can tell. But perhaps most of all, I quiet, staid. Although sometimes I can get angry. Maybe I am funny.
- In addition to hockey, that you're looking for?
- During the season, all subject to ice hockey. Calendar is very busy. In the travel I like the books of different reading, movies on DVD’s. During summer time, I like to play tennis and soccer with my friends. So me and sports are not separated.
- Your parents are still living in the Ozerki?
- Yes, my mother and my dad live there. On weekends, I used to go to Ozerki. It’s 120 kilometres by car - it is not so far. Parents are trying to visit every home game for CSKA. So I see them often.
- If not a secret, what is your marital status?
- Single. I have a girlfriend. Meet with her more than two years from now.
- What is your dream?
- Would be great to win with Russia the winter Olympics or World championship. Beside hockey I wish to all my family, to relatives and friends to be alive and healthy.
- Sergei, thanks for the interview. Health and luck!
- Thank you. I will try.
Andrey SOROKIN (log «Combat Brothers»)