Interview: Yekaterina Ananyina
It is always rewarding and interesting to talk to people deeply involved in Russian hockey, and so I was very happy this week to get the opportunity to send a few quick questions in the direction of Agidel Ufa and Russian National Team defender Yekaterina Ananyina (at right in the photo above). Read on!
Yekaterina Ananyina played youth hockey as part of the Spartak school, before moving in the professional women’s game with Spartak-Merkury, the Women’s Hockey League club in her native Yekaterinburg. After several seasons there and with HK Fakel in Chelyabinsk, she joined Agidel Ufa, winning a 2015-16 silver medal to go with the bronzes she had previously won at Spartak-Merkury.
Ananyina has also been a regular in recent years with the Russian national team. Her international hockey resume includes World Under-18 Championship tournaments in 2008 and 2009, World Champions in 2009, 2012, and 2013, and the Olympic Games in 2010 in Vancouver. More recently, she played for the Russian entry at the World University Games in 2014 and 2015, bringing home a gold medal in the latter of those tournaments.
A quick note here: our brief interview was conducted in Russian over e-mail and vkontakte, and any mis-translations, misunderstandings, or similar errors are entirely my fault, not hers! Without further ado:
How did you first get into ice hockey?
I started skating at the age of five, and then at eight years old I started attending the boys’ hockey school.
What has been your favourite hockey memory so far?
Ottawa in 2013 — the World Championship bronze medal.
What are your impressions of this past season with Agidel?
We took second place, but we wanted first. There is a strong team here — I enjoy playing for them.
What do you think the Women’s Hockey League needs to do, in order to continue to develop?
[We need] to continue to work with the KHL, and there must be TV broadcasts of the games.
And what about women’s hockey in Russia in general?
In my view this sport requires more attention on the part of the authorities. A lot of girls want to be involved, but they have no place to play.
In your opinion, who is the greatest Russian women’s hockey player of all time? And now?
There have been many good players, each unique in her own way. They cannot be compared.
What is next for you in your hockey career?
I do not know yet — for the time being, I’m playing in Russia, but I have a dream to play overseas. It is another level of hockey there.
We will definitely by keeping an eye, and keeping you updated, on how Ms. Ananyina’s career goes on from here. Deep, deep, gratitude of course to Yekaterina Ananyina for her taking the time to answer questions, and also to Denis Osipchuk for facilitating the interview — many thanks to you both!