Bravo Sports Club

Zholbarys Players Showed Love At Local Practice

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The Kazakhstan Zholbarys have won the 2014 Hockey 5’s International B Championship and have returned home with glory and pride.  Few would have guessed that some of their players actually took time to help develop ice hockey in Hong Kong.

Last Thursday night, the Wendigos Hockey Club and Junglok Athletic Club invited Kazakhstan Zholbarys owner and captain Anvar Stamkulov to bring two of his best players, Oleg Onischenko and Mikhail Lazorenko; and his top goaltender, Sergey Ossintsev, to Skyrink in Dragon Center for a practice session.

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Oleg Onischenko

Lazorenko competed in the World Junior Championships with the U18 and U20 Kazakhstan national team, and spent his entire professional hockey career with the Kazzinc-Torpedo Hockey Club in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) of Russia.

Onischenko was teammates of Mikhail Lazorenko on the 2008-09 U-20 Kazakhstan national team as well as the Kazzinc-Torpedo Hockey Club in the VHL.

Mikhail Lazorenko

Mikhail Lazorenko

Sergey Ossintsev played professional hockey in the Kazakhstan Hockey League.  He later became the starting goaltender of the Kyrgyzstan national team and won the gold medal of the Premiere Division at the 2011 Asian Winter Games.

All of them are currently experienced and highly-qualified hockey coaches in Kazakhstan.

Stamkulov and the three coaches came to the rink with great fan fare and ran a highly entertaining but efficient 75-minute practice session.

Over 15 skaters and 3 goaltenders attended the practice.  Some players had to settle with watching the practice from outside the rink as the ice surface was not big enough for more players.

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Coach Oleg and Coach Mikhail

Even though there was a language barrier between the coaches and the players, Anvar “the big brother” would immediately jump on ice  to translate when needed.  When players did not understand any drills, the coaches would explain everything with their skills.

The coaches did not mind the lack of a dressing room, they did not mind the small size of the rink. They simply wanted to help those who were at the practice.

We asked goaltending coach Sergey Ossintsev to not bring any of his equipment for the ease of transportation.  The plan was to have him watch our goalies perform and give them verbal advice.  But when Sergey saw the goalies he immediately got on ice with his Hawaiian shorts and shoes and instructed them personally.

Sergey Ossintsev and his bloody knees

Coach Sergey and his bloodied knees

At one point he actually demonstrated a few butterfly slides on his bare knees and ended up with two bloodied knees.

On the skater’s end, Coach Oleg would encourage and push players to skate hard and try their best.  On the other hand, Coach Mikhail would always do silly things to keep things interesting for everyone.

As a result, everyone had a focused time at the rink, everyone had fun, and everyone learnt something new.  All 75 minutes were put to good use and time just flew by before anyone knew it.

Practice is very important for players and goaltenders.  Our friends from Kazakhstan showed us their passion for hockey and they taught us how practice could be so much fun.  We at JAC do not know if we could arrange for such a thing again ever in the future but we will certainly work on it.

Coach Sergey and Rex "Angry" Kong

Coach Sergey teaching “anger management”

There’s probably not much in common between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong:  the language, the food, the views, and things people do are all very different.  However, when hockey players from both places step on to the same ice rink, ice hockey becomes a common language.

Junglok Athletic Club would like to thank Anvar Stamkulov and the Zholbarys organization for their passion and for passing on their knowledge of the game.  We would also like to thank Mr. Wong Cheung and the Wendigos Hockey Club for their help in making this happen.

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