“I dream of winning the Stanley Cup and playing in the NHL.” The 17-year-old Kazakhstani participated in the U.S. In the League All-Star Game and chose Evgeni Malkin as the example

In the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, young Kazakhstani players have significant problems with the possibility of breaking into the big hockey overseas. Applying for the right to enter the U.S. and Canada is a very difficult one, and not everyone can get an overseas visa as a result. And, nevertheless, in North American ice hockey Kazakhstanis are still observed – even if there are literally a few of them.

According to hockey directories, at the moment 18-year-old Askar Aymanbetov (St. George Ravens) and 20-year-old Vladislav Nikiforov (New Tekaset Civics) are among the representatives of Kazakhstan overseas, but they are not involved in the official matches of the 2020/2021 season. Strictly speaking, only 19-year-old Mikhail Gavrilenko (Fresno Monsters, USPHL), 15-year-old Magzhan Sagadiyev (“Boston Hockey Academy”) in local U-15 competitions and 17-year-old Adis Ultanbekov for the Pittsburgh U-18 team in the U-18 tournament are really playing in North America. 

There is, of course, the son of former Kazakh ice hockey star Nikolai Antropov, 19-year-old Danil Antropov, who last season played in the OHL for the Canadian “Oshawa Generals” and the American “Sagina Spirit”, but it has not been found in the applications of overseas teams for the 2020/2021 season. Why did you choose this sport? After attending the Barys-Salavat Yulayev match with my parents, I wanted to play hockey and two days after that I took my first steps on the ice.

What position do you take? Did you play this role from the beginning?

 From the very beginning, I played as a central striker who later became a right-winger.

As I understand it, after playing for the children’s teams “Astana” and “Baryta” you went to Magnitogorsk in 2014. How did this option come about, and how did it interest you? In the autumn of 2013, as a result of watching, I had the opportunity to play in metallurgy, which I took advantage of. It was a complex but very interesting experience. During this time, our team became the bronze medalist of the championship of Russia.

” You have spent several years in the Metalurh system. Did your parents move to Russia with you?

“I spent five and a half wonderful years at Magnitka. All this time he lived with my father, my mother stayed in Nur Sultan and tried to come to us once a month.

“In 2018, you are back at Barys. What was this about?

“It’s time to think about the future. I decided to make my way to student hockey in North America. I returned home to prepare – and here I was lucky enough to meet the excellent coach of the Barys system Oleg Shoulaev, who gave me a lot.

In Kazakhstan, you have not stayed long and since last season you play in the United States. Esmark Stars – what kind of club is this? At what level do his teams perform?

The Esmark Stars play in the AAA Youth League. It’s a good league with the prospect of getting into any junior league in North America.

The season has a large number of games, with teams from other leagues too. Last season we reached the playoffs. I consider it a great success that in America my coach was Yuri Krivozhja. At one time he was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and managed to play for the Soviet Union under Viktor Tikhonov. And it was under this mentor that I participated in the League All-Star Game as a result of the season- and got into its symbolic team.