Ilnar Misbakhov: «In the last season there was a close-knit team»


Ilnar Misbakhov has been working on Igor Fyodorov’s coaching staff for two seasons at the JHCReaktor. Ilnar Vakilovich came to Neftekhimik at the age of 16. He will talk about the last season, the features of the JHL and the main secret of how to get from the youth team to the KHL team.

– Ilnar Vakilovich, how are you spending your vacation?
– With family and children. Lately I have been going fishing with my son on the Kama River. We are planning to go somewhere to the sea later, while we still have the opportunity.

–  You played for many years in different VHL clubs, how did you get into coaching?
– At the age of 36, when I began to think about ending my playing career, I accidentally met Alexander Yuryevich Sokolov. He found out that I wanted to finish my hockey career, and after a while he called and invited me to be his assistant. Thus there was a smooth transition from a playing career to a coaching one. I began coaching at the VHL team CSK VVS Samara.
Then there were clubs from Kazakhstan “Saryarka”, “Kyran”, Kazan “Dynamo”. Now I have been at Reaktor for two years.

– When did your paths cross with Alexander Yuryevich?
– I moved to Nizhnekamsk from Chelny at the age of 16 to play in the second team. I lived in a dometry, went to school and played hockey. I played three years under his leadership in the Neftekhimik-2 team. I made it to the first team for one season, then the coach was Vladimir Vasilyevich Krikunov. After that, I moved to the VHL, where the main part of my playing career was spent – “Neftyanik”, “Brest”, “Diesel”, “Zauralye”, “Olympia”, “South Ural”, “Ariada”, “Molot-Prikamye” .

– What did he teach you about coaching?
– Demanding, organized, principles of constructing the training process on and off the ice. In general, every day spent with him became a big lesson for me. He is a very open and sociable person, he gave me answers to all my questions.

–Was it difficult to switch from player to coach?
– It was easy for me from the very beginning. I continued to stay in the same environment, and I understood perfectly what was required of me, because I myself had recently been a player. I always easily find a common language with the guys. The head coach is an unconditional authority for the guys. As an assistant, I am more like a senior comrade for the guys, my role is to advise, guide and support.

– You give the impression of being the most calm person possible.
– Yes, that is right. I have always been like this and remain the same person.

– How do you cope with unsuccessful games?
– At first I get upset, then I start to analyze and I watch the game at home. Then it is fine, I continue working. We are accustomed to all kinds of emotions. I have been involved in hockey since childhood, in the game, and even now, on vacation, I am bored without these emotions. It is as if you are tired of resting and want to plunge into the hockey atmosphere again.

– What kind of feeling do you have left after the season?
– There is a feeling of understatement, we really wanted, and most importantly, we could go further and make the playoffs. For young players, the play–in was a good experience, with great benefits for the future. They will remember those emotions, this will help the guys develop and become even better.

– Every year, the youth team changes almost half of its roster, adults leave, and newcomers come from the hockey school. How difficult is it to reassemble a team to get it to play?
– All the same, the core of the team remains, a lot of young guys came to us a year ago, they remain and there will be someone to support the team spirit. Of course, everything is developed in a single day; this is gradual work. Everyone needs time, especially young players. In the last season there was a close-knit team.

– How did you manage to create such a friendly team?
– The process of creating a team depends on many factors. The task of the coaching staff is to guide the team and give advice. A lot of depends on the captain and his assistants. Grisha (Grigory) Morozov became a good captain, he is a player with extensive experience, and also became the JHL champion.

– If we compare the lower and upper age limits in the youth league - 16 and 20 years old, what game development can players make in 4 years?
– Everything is individual. There are 16-year-old guys stronger than 20-year-olds – both physically and in terms of play. Mostly they come small, thin, fragile, but a year or two passes and they become strong and courageous. Of course, they continue to grow at this age. We build our training process so that they can add strength and endurance.

– Now HC Neftekhimik is heading towards strengthening the vertical from the hockey school to the first team. How did this affect the youth team?
– The Reaktor coaching staff always monitors the players of our hockey school. We also involve the guys in our training. During the preseason, many players born in 2008, 2007, 2006 from the Neftekhimik Hockey School will come to us on trial contracts, but after that everything depends on them. At the same time, no one has canceled competition; you need to be head and shoulders above your rivals for a place in the lineup. This is the only way to create a combat-ready team. Of course, it will be great if there are as many local Nizhnekamsk guys as possible. Anywway, they must match the level.

– What is the primary goal for the JHL team - winning, striving for the cup, or preparing players for our first team?
– I think these two goals do not contradict each other. We must prepare children for adult hockey so that they can play at a professional level. They are seeing Neftekhimik players in the next locker room, and are very motivated to grow, develop and win games. Everyone has ambitions, everyone without exception tries to do his best. Everyone can do his best.

– Do you watch the games of those guys who have already left Reaktor and moved on to adult hockey?
– When you have time, definitely. But we were in touch with some guys, they asked for advice, congratulated us on their victories - Nikita Khoruzhev and Maxim Ustimkin, when they were in Izhstal, Grisha Morozov, when he played in Chaika.

– Tell us what your children are interested in?
– My son Danil, he is 8 years old, plays hockey in Neftekhimik hockey school (Rodion Glebovich Gafurov – Coach). He really likes it, tries hard and works. Whether or not he becomes a hockey player, we will see, the main thing is that he grows up to be a good person. But I keep him in good shape, whenever possible I help him in the training process - both on and off the ice.

My eldest daughter was always my main fan at games when I was still playing. Now she is engaged in dancing.

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