Alexander Sudnitsin: «Our team is a great team!»


Alexander Sudnitsin talks about his injury, way back to hockey and playoff run with Neftekhimik.

– Alexander, after a difficult injury it is not easy for a hockey player to be back to play on high-level hockey. Unfortunately, there are many cases when players had to leave professional sports. How did everything happen in your case? Did you think about finishing your hockey career?

– No. Hockey is a big part of my life. Day after day, I want to play hockey more and more. Yes, there are different situatuons in a career - difficult and very difficult. I never gave up and tried to play as long as possible and, thank God, I am here.

– How difficult was it to return to the high-level after that unfortunate injury?

– It is clear that it was not easy to be back. It took long time for recovery process. Moreover, the pandemic happened that year. Everything was closed, and it was not even possible to skate. I skated where it was possible. Even on synthetic ice. I tried to do everything in order to be in shape. I have done a lot of work, and it was not all in vain. Of course, it took much time than I expected. I am glad that hockey fate brought me back to Nizhnekamsk, where I started my way to the KHL.

– How did it happened that you started this season with Izhstal?

– Like one of my colleagues said: "I signed one unsuccessful contract, got an injury and that's it – you are out of hockey. I will not lie - I did not have any contract offers. I knew that it was better to be in good shape and practice with the team than to practice individually. I was looking for options in the VHL, but with the condition that they could let me go at any time when I received an offer from the KHL. The option with Izhevsk appeared after a call from Sergei Magarilov, he is the goaltending coach of Izhstal. We used to play together in Tyumen at one time. Sergei said: “Come to Izhevsk, you can play games and get practice process, but you will work practically for free.” I did not think about this offer for a long time. I packed my staff and moved to Izhevsk. I am grateful to Izhstal for helping me at that difficult time. Then everything turned out the way it is. For me it was good, I hope that for Neftekhimik too.

– Did you expect an offer to return to Nizhnekamsk?

– I did not have such thoughts. The team had goaltenders in the roster. There were Frans Tuohimaa, Evgeny Ivannikov and Yaroslav Ozolin. Yaroslav came to Izhevsk back to play there instead of me (laughs). Therefore, I had no thoughts about returning to Nizhnekamsk, but at the end of September, Alexei Mitroshin (Neftekhimik goaltending coach) called and said that there is an option to play with Neftekhimik. Of course, I said that I am ready you they need me. Then Igor Viktorovich Larionov (Director of the Neftekhimik Hockey Club) called me and offered a try-out contract. I was ready, packed my staff again, and went to Nizhnekamsk on the same day.

– How many years have passed since you left Neftekhimik?

– For six years I was not in the team, but as soon as I entered the locker room, it felt like I had never left. There was a funny moment. I just drove up to the Neftekhim Arena and just got out of the car, I hear our ice-making crew shouting: “Alexander, welcome to Tatarstan!”. To be honest, it warmed my soul. It was a pleasure to see everyone again. I felt that they were happy to see me here. Everything is great.

– Could you rate this season, for the team and for you?

– First of all, I would like to point out the spirit of the team. From that time when I played here, I knew about 5-6 boys, for example: Yaroslav Ozolin or Andrei Chivilyov. Our team is a great team! We like a family here. Everyone supported each other. I think that we played well this season. Of course, we wanted to win in the playoffs. Honestly, if I played better, we would have had chances to win some games. It is what it is. We will draw the right conclusions from these playoff games and will become stronger next season. About the season, there were ups and downs. In every game, we fought to the very end. Everyone tried to do their best.

– Few days ago you extended your contract with Neftekhimik for one season.

– I am very glad and happy that I will play with Neftekhimik! I am sure that next season will be even more successful for the team than this one.

I would like to thank all our fans for their support!

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