Women’s Hockey Update: July 31st, 2017
“A Day with Women’s National Team”: A very interesting little video following women’s senior national team members Anna Shockhina and Alevtina Shtaryova around a day of training in Novogorsk.
The Women’s Hockey League teams are all now fully immersed in pre-season preparations, and we are quickly approaching the first actual games of 2017-18, even if they will be just of the “exhibition” variety. In the meantime, however, there are still some bits of news to look at, so read on for an early version of the 2017-18 Russian U18 roster, a new coach in the Women’s Hockey League, and a whole new competition in Russian women’s amateur hockey!
The senior women’s national team camp has wrapped up (see video above), but the Under-18 squad is now in training at Novogorsk, near Moscow, in preparation for some games in Canada. The Hockey Canada Summer Showcase gets underway on August 6th, and Team Russia will face two Canadian U18 teams. The Russian training camp roster is below (an asterisk indicates a player from 2017 U18 Worlds team, while a plus sign denotes one from the Under-16 European championship side):
- Anna Alpatova+ (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Arina Konina (Severyanka Cherepovets)
- Milena Tretyak* (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Angelina Bornikova (SK Sverdlovsk Oblast)
- Anastasiya Golovkina+ (SSHOR Moscow Oblast)
- Darya Kovalenko (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod)
- Yana Kuchma (SK Sverdlovsk Oblast)
- Alina Orlova* (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta)
- Anna Savonina+* (Kristall Elektrostal)
- Sofya Sychyova+ (Biryusa Krasnoyarsk)
- Irina Tsatsina (Forvard St. Petersburg)
- Mariya Alexandrova (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Darya Beloglazova* (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Varvara Boriskova+ (SSHOR Moscow Oblast)
- Polina Chebotar (S. Makarov Hockey School, Chelyabinsk)
- Valeriya Dryndina (SSHOR Moscow Oblast)
- Irina Kulagina (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Mariya Lobur (Tornado Moscow Oblast)
- Anna Lopukhova (SSHOR Moscow Oblast)
- Alina Narudinova (S. Makarov Hockey School, Chelyabinsk)
- Vita Ponyatovskaya+ (Mechel Chelyabinsk)
- Mariya Pushkar+ (SKIF Nizhny Novgorod)
- Mariya Serova (SSHOR Moscow Oblast)
- Olga Shibayeva (Kapitan Stupino)
- Yelizaveta Shkalyova+ (HK Dmitrov)
- Stanislava Sidorenko (S. Makarov Hockey School, Chelyabinsk)
- Anastasiya Yakubiva+ (SK Sverdlovsk Oblast)
- Diana Zhalimova (Arktik-Universitet Ukhta)
This has the appearance of something of a “look-see” lineup for coach Yevgeny Babariko, with relatively few veterans from last season’s U18 Worlds, and quite a number called up from the Under-16 girls’ team that won the inaugural European Championship this spring. Among that latter group, goalie Alpatova and forward Shkalyova are particularly notable; Shkalyova led Team Russia in scoring at the U16 Euros (4gp, 4-4-8) while Alpatova saved 61 of 63 shots at the same tournament.
Four of the players in camp with the Under-18 team are also newly-signed members of Tornado Moscow Oblast, defending champions of the Women’s Hockey League. Goalies Alpatova and Tretyak, along with forwards Kulagina and Beloglazova, have been brought in from Moscow-area youth hockey programs (all four played on boys’ club teams). Kulagina, it should be noted, also took part in Tornado’s pre-season work prior to the 2016-17 season.
The depth of Tornado’s roster means that the four young players can and will be brought along slowly (head coach Alexei Chistyakov said as much this past week), but if I had to pick one to break through in a significant way this coming season, it would be Beloglazova. Although she does not turn 17 until September of this year, she already has produced at two U18 Women’s World Championship tournaments (12 gp, 4-3-7 is her total stat line from the Worlds). It is customary, for Russian girls playing on boys’ teams, to slot them in with boys two years younger than they are. However, Beloglazova, with a late 2000 birthday, played with the 2001 boys’ team at the Pingvini Moscow Hockey School, and was regularly a point-per-game player. I look forward to seeing what she (and, indeed, her three young team-mates) can do in the Women’s Hockey League.
In the last women’s hockey update here, we took a stroll through the Women’s Hockey League coaching ranks, and since then, there has been one change to report. Arktik-Universitet Ukhta will enter the new season with Andrei Kunyakov replacing Andrei Anisimov behind the bench. Kunyakov, 46, had a long career as a defenceman in Russia’s minor leagues, before retiring after the 2010-11 season. As far as I know, this is his first head-coaching position.
Kunyakov is not the only new face around the Arktik-Universitet club in recent weeks, as 19-year-old forward Yelena Vodopyanova has signed on after playing last season at Tornado. Vodopyanova, a two-time member of Russian U18 Women’s Worlds team, scored 5-3-8 in 33 games for Tornado last season.
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League has released its draft list for 2017, and there is one Russian player on it. Mariya Sorokina was nearly unarguably the best goalie in the Women’s Hockey League last season: she recorded the lowest GAA of any goalie who played more than 15 games (1.58), and the best save percentage of that group as well (.926). She is also now a three-time Women’s World Championship player for the Russian national team. The CWHL draft will be held August 20th, and it will be interesting to see if she is chosen (she should be), and if so by whom.
(h/t to @CreaseGiants for that tidbit)
To the amateur women’s game in Russia: the League of Women’s Hockey, the top amateur circuit in the country, had an exciting announcement this past week. That league, which this past season was restricted to players over the age of 18, will be adding a youth division next season, for those between the ages of 14 and 18. The new competition will be called the Olimpiiskie Nadezhdy (“Olympic Hopes”) Division, while the existing adult league will be the Amazonki Division.
The League of Women’s Hockey is still finalizing its lineup of teams for next season; applications will continue until September 1st.
That’s all for this time, but with exhibition games (and the U18s’ trip to Canada) getting closer, we will increase the frequency of these updates over the next month. In the next update, too, we will start to take a team-by-team look at the off-season comings and goings in the Women’s Hockey League, and begin to make some prognostications about the upcoming season. Thank you for reading!