The world hockey championship in Riga is now over. Even though Kazakhstan didn’t make it, its national team has caused a sensation during the tournament.
Under Yuriy Mikhaylis‘s supervision, the Kazakhstani team has shown amazing playing skills in Latvia’s 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship. Even though the Kazakhstani team didn’t make it to the semifinal match, it has shown excellent game within its group. The senior coach of the team Yuriy Mikhaylis gave an interview to the Kursiv edition and explained what happened in Latvia.
– First of all, congratulations! Your team has shown high results. This is probably the best result of the team in the top division. It was a fantastic show for every Kazakhstani fan of hockey. What is the secret of this success in Latvia?
– Thank you so much. Yes, we did a lot, and there are no secrets except for the hard work of each member of the team. They have truly believed in the team and it helped a lot.
– You have defeated Finland and Germany, you ripped Italy (11:3) but what went wrong with Norway? That team isn’t a world leader, after all.
– It was a lack of luck, I guess. We were on form and several times attacked the Norwegian goal cage but just couldn’t make it. Moreover, their goalkeeper was good. Probably, the match against Kazakhstan is his best game.
– Two naturalized players Nigel Dowes and Henrik Karlsson refused to play in Latvia. What was the reaction of the team?
– We had no time to discuss this issue; we just tried to find a new goalkeeper. As a result, our guys Demid Eremeev and Nikita Boyarkin have shown good play. Also, we had a third goalkeeper – Andrey Shutov, but he didn’t play because the second warm-up match with Belarus was canceled.
– Karlsson has missed the game, but young local players including Nikita Boyarkin, Nikita Mikhaylis, Artem Likhotnikov and of course Roman Starchenko and Evgeniy Rymarev did all the job. Is Kazakhstan’s national team able to show good results without naturalized foreign players?
– Well, we have to seek this goal.
– Next world championship in Finland in 2022 will be much tougher because a team with the lowest result has to leave its division. Would be this a problem for the team?
– It will depend on how we are going to prepare ourselves for the championship. We need to be in good physical form, have no injuries or something like that. All players are ready to fight for the country. But now our opponents will be more careful with us. They are going to keep an eye on us and won’t underestimate us as they did before.
– There were no viewers in Riga. Did this help or not?
– I think it is easier to play when people sit up there and watch how you are playing. It makes a difference in terms of emotions, it gives some energy, which we desperately needed during the game with Norway.
– You played against Finnish, Americans and the founders of the hockey, Canadians. Who has impressed you the most?
– All of them. Especially, I have been impressed by the U.S. national team. Of course, the Finnish team and Germans are very tough guys. As for Canadians, their potential is tremendous, even though they had a bad start.
– Your son plays in Barys and the national team. Is it difficult to train a son? Are you willing to treat him a little bit better than other players or you push him as a father?
– No, there are no difficulties with Nikita. He is good at learning and receives no free pass from me. I mean I treat all my players equally.
– Do you believe that Kazakhstan’s national team can be a respected opponent in the world of hockey or is this success in Latvia just an isolated victory?
– Our team is fully able to demonstrate good results constantly thanks to the strong centerpiece of the team. All our players are tough guys; they are ready to fight until the end, which is necessary if you are going to achieve ambitious goals.