Following Yevgeniy Belukhin, the government of Ukraine has received the request to provide Ukrainian citizenship to Yuri Silnitskiy and Vladislav Shalimov.
Both players are considered as potentially supporting the Ukrainian National Team, who will attempt to get a ticket to the World Hockey Elite this season. HC “Donbass” provide their support to the National Hockey Federation in the naturalization process of the hockey players.
and now 2012 Donbass KHL 3rd round draft pick Egor Morozov will be known as Ehor Morozovsky
The forward of HC “Donbass” and “Molodaya Gvardiya” Egor Morozov will fight for a position in the Ukrainian National Team.
Eighteen-year-old Russian hockey player agreed an offer to accept Ukrainian citizenship in order to join the roster of the Ukrainian National team. Remember that earlier such kind of propositions had been received by Evgeniy Belukhin, Vladislav Shalimov and Yuriy Silnitskiy.
Last season Egor Morozov played one match in the Continental Hockey League and 17 matches in the Professional Hockey League and became the Champion of Ukraine.
- Not so long ago Andrey Nazarov combined two positions and headed the National Team of Ukraine. Why did you choose to overlap the positions?
- Nazarov has a very clear task - to bring the National Team of Ukraine into the Elite Division. We have a group of hockey players in Donetsk with Russian passports, who will receive Ukrainian citizenship for sure in a little while. So it turns out that in total there will be 25 hockey players who will play for the National team and 15 of them are playing in the “Donbass” and “Molodaya Gvardiya” rosters. This is the reason why we appointed Nazarov to this position.
- Is it a real task to get into the Elite?
- Unfortunately, in the Ukrainian National team we have a real big age gap between players. There are some players who are 30 years old and some very young players. Fifteen years out of hockey in the country speaks for itself. It is very difficult to combine the National Team in such conditions. That is why several of our hockey players have a desire to get Ukrainian citizenship and the Hockey Federation is working on this question.
- Nazarov said that you have an idea to naturalize Aleksander Eremenko and Michail Anisin...
- We would like to naturalize Evgeniy Kuznetsov with Anisin, but I don’t think that they would like that (laughing). But to be serious, in our National team there are three good groups which consist of five players. That is why our task is to involve young and prospective players who would play well in the fourth group and then just to add and become leaders. Currently, we have collected all the Ukrainian players in the team who can play well, except Aleksey Ponikarovskiy.
- Were you surprised that Aleksey took Russian Citizenship?
- Yes, I was. Of course Aleksey knows better as to why he needs a Russian passport. But I think there is no sense in it – neither for him nor SKA. He is not 20 or 15 years old, to strive for the Russian National Team. SKA has such a roster that it’s no difference for them if Ponikarovskiy naturalizes or not. They could play in the KHL with two rosters. Anyway, it’s good that the League has such a strong team. We have an example to follow.
- Will Ponikarovskiy continue to play for the National Team?
- I can’t answer this question, but he would not be able to play for Russia for a miniumum of four years, this is for sure. But I don’t judge Ponikarovkiy at all. When we called him to play for “Donbass” during the lockout, he agreed straight away. When we called him to play for Ukraine he also agreed.
- Did you ever have a chance to fight for Ponikarovkiy with SKA? - We had a conversation with Ponikarovskiy, but we could not come to a settlement. He is a very good player and he is a nice person. He helped us a lot during the lockout last season. We had too many forwards and not many defenders. In any case I wish him good luck and success, but not in the games against our team (laughing).
- Anton Babchuk is also back in the KHL, but not in the “Donbass” roster, this time in the “Salavat” roster. - As for Babchuk, we did not even have a conversation with him; I can’t say anything about him. But the fact that these boys were in demand by the top KHL Clubs, says that these hockey players are professionals.
- We have heard that you offered contracts to Anisin and Zherdev. Is it true?
- I want you to understand that we are talking about forwards. At the time that they entered the market, we did not need forwards at all. Of course Nikolay is a great player. But we were sure that he would go back to “Atlant”, that is why when Zherdev became free, our forwards had been already arranged. Look, in our roster we have a Stanley Cup holder, active World champion and a big group of professional forwards. No space for Zherdev.
There is another problem, that in your country, if you do not count Donetsk, there are not many hockey Arenas with artificial ice. - Yes, right now Kiev is a priority; we would like to raise the hockey infrastructure there and build Arenas. There is another problem in Ukraine - no clubs that would be a part of a government budget balance – neither football nor hockey club. And we have to spend a lot of money rather than let’s say Chelyabinsk “Traktor”, who have a perfect school with great traditions. If we look at the total hockey stars graduated from the Chelyabinsk school then we can compare it with “Barcelona” Football club.
- How long will it take for “Donbass” to get such kind of school?
- We need seven or eight years to develop a real hockey infrastructure and real hockey academy. And the Ukrainian National Team should be playing in Elite Division by this time, so the young people would have an interest in hockey. I think I we are on the right path.
Kolesnikov said that Poni couldn't play for the Russian NT (not that he'd ever make it) for minimum 4 years correct? So he can still play for Ukraine at Division 1A championships in April?
Not as long as he's bent on being "Russian" to not count as an import player for SKA, as far as I understand. Doesn't look good, we gained back Razin but lost Poni. Last year the KHL season ended on the 17th and the Div IB for Ukraine started on the 14th. Poni will be with SKA in the regular season still / playoffs.
Which brings up another point, if Donbass is gunning for the playoffs, will Fedotenko/Razin/every else be allowed to go? Nazarov is the coach of both teams, too.
that's the thing, will he play? we'll see, hopefully we can get confirmation somewhere. razin was obviously always available to play but as long as he was "Russian" he never suited up for the national team, and I fear the same lame situation will happen with Mrs. Karovsky