My Hockey Future: KHL Star Andrei Mironov On His Experience With Dynamo Moscow

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July 02, 2013
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KHL’s Andrei Mironov of Dynamo Moscow talks to thinkRUSSIA about his incredible rookie season and status as a potential NHL draft prospect
Russia's Andrei Mironov at a training session before the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships group stage match, Russia vs. USA, in late 2012. © Alexey Kudenko, RIA Novosti.

A rookie of only 18, Andrei Mironov is already one of the top ice hockey players in Russia’s KHL, and is attracting significant attention from NHL scouts. In his first season with Dynamo Moscow in 2012-2013, the hard-hitting defensemen helped his team win a Gagarin Cup Championship, contributing in 18 of the team’s 20 playoff games. Mironov also represented Russia at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championships, where Russia earned a bronze medal.  Ahead of the NHL draft this Sunday, Andrei talked with thinkRUSSIA about his experience so far and what the future might hold.

You recently completed your first KHL season and won a Gagarin Cup with Dynamo Moscow this year, how do you feel your first season went?

Let me just say that the first season was extremely challenging. It required blazing speeds and out-of-the-box thinking, both in the regular championship and in the playoffs. Often, the latter are particularly daring because the stakes are so high, every wrong move results in penalty.

Not only have we finished the first season but we’re already starting the second. The win was truly epic, a whole spectrum of emotions all at the same time. The thing I hold most dear is the fact that I shared this glorious victory with the club I have been training with since I was five years old. That is priceless.

You had a chance to play with some of the world’s biggest hockey stars like Alexander Ovechkin this year, what was that like?

Ovechkin and [Leo] Komarov were both spectacular. They showed supreme dedication and a whole new level of play that I would characterize as more powerful and extremely precise.

You are from Moscow; what is it like playing for your hometown team? Did you grow up cheering for Dynamo?

I first started playing ice hockey when I was five years old, and even though it started off merely as a way to keep fit, it’s always been Dynamo for me. The original idea was for me to follow into my cousin’s footsteps in a way of playing hockey for the sake of doing some sports, but soon enough it became much more than a simple workout.

The KHL has some of the longest road trips in the world of hockey, what is it like to travel and visit all of the different cities in the KHL?

Of course we had to move a lot. A week and a half at home, then boom! –you’re away for three games straight. But I got used to it soon enough. Everything was so well-organized, three hours later, and we’re in place. Being stuck in Moscow traffic may take just as much time but will hardly take you far. Still, in the midst of the rush we did in fact have some time to look around. Particularly in Slovakia and the Czech Republic where we had dinner, enjoyed an evening walk and even did a little sightseeing.

With things being as tough as you’ve described, how do you face failures?

Failure inspires. The important lesson it teaches is that limits are often self-imposed. Without failing there would be no winning, and learning from one’s mistakes, as simple as it may sound, actually proves to be a powerful motivator.

Some scouts from North America are interested in you for the upcoming NHL draft, how do you feel about the possibility of being selected?

There is always a place to grow, and NHL is one of the possible future options. Hockey is very different over there partly due to the fact that the rinks are noticeably smaller in size. That results in more physical play. The tactics are quite different and that is what’s interesting for sure. However, I feel like I need to grow strong first to rival existing players of the NHL so I’ll be sticking with Dynamo for now.

Are you excited to have the Olympics in your home country next year? Do you plan on attending the Games in Sochi?

The Olympic team is made up only a month before the Games so we’ll see from there. But I would be super excited if I got a chance to be a part of it, of course!

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