In Hockey, if one player can still decide something in a game, in Short Hockey if one drops out, he drags the whole team down with him.
An interview with the captain of the Crystal team representing the city of Electrostal.
— Maksim, your hometown of Electrostal is a supplier of hockey talents. You yourself are a pupil of the local hockey school. The whole city is literally saturated with hockey. How do you think Short Hockey feels here?
— We have a very hockey-friendly city. It’s hard to meet anyone who hasn’t had something to do with hockey and our home club in one way or another. Some used to train themselves, some took their children and so on. Unfortunately, lately only the children’s school tries to maintain local traditions. There has been no big hockey in the city for quite a long time. And the local ones are missing the battles of the masters. In that sense – Short Hockey fits perfectly into our city setup (smiles). Look at the level of players and the degree of sportsmanship of the teams, top notch!
— The home walls surely help your team, do you have local fans at this tournament?
— Yes, the whole city is literally abuzz with news that Crystal are competing at a high level again. It’s just not entirely clear to everyone what the league is and what kind of hockey it is. So, a lot of people are actively interested, learning more about the competition, about this direction of hockey. I like it. In the evenings a few people gather at the arena to cheer for us. They may not be many, the arena doesn’t allow them, but it’s nice!
— I know you are not new to Short Hockey, but how are the rest of the team? How are they feeling?
— I got into the sport myself a long time ago. I played back in the Moscow Liga Pro. The rest of the team really came across this mini-format for the first time. And you know, they are happy with it. It is not classic hockey, it is a different sport. Everyone points this out. But different does not mean worse. A different style of play, different skills come to the fore. Teamwork is very important here. In hockey one player can make a difference in a game, but in short hockey if one player falls out, he pulls the whole team down with him. The dynamics of the game are cosmic! Anyway, the guys love it.
— Who will you note from your opponents? Which team, in your opinion, is the favorite of the current stage of the World Series?
— Yes, the competition is strong here! Even the teams from the bottom of the table are not outsiders. Not all of them were able to get off to a good start, but by the equinox of the tournament they all picked up the pace. I like the style of our team. We have played with almost all our tournament rivals and proved that we are one of the contenders. Armeec and Belsk look very strong. I really like that out of the 10 teams in the tournament you can see the variety of playing styles. And as a player it is very interesting. Your opponents are not similar to each other and this makes the game more challenging and interesting.
— Does Maxim Leonov have any personal fans?
— My family is my and my brother’s main supporters’ club (laughs). Dad regularly comes to watch our games. He was a good player in the past, by the way, and he was one of the leaders of Kristall of his generation.
— And finally, who is Maksim Leonov’s favourite player in this tournament in terms of his style of play?
— Andrei Leonov (laughs). It’s a pleasure to play with him, he’s an older brother after all.