This week’s interview is with Dakota Jackalopes RW Arkady Golynin.
SHL Digest: We’re here this week with one of the SHL’s brightest young scoring prospects, Arkady Golynin of the Dakota Jackalopes. Arkady, thanks for speaking with us.
Arkady Golynin: It is a great honor. Thank you very much.
SHLD: You’re not a household name, but with the way you’ve been playing, you might be on your way to becoming one. Last season, in your rookie year, you broke out with 23 goals. This year, you’re on pace to match that mark. What’s the secret to your success?
AG: I have a good shot. When I was a boy, I drew a box on the side of my house. Every day I practiced shots at the box. Aim for this corner, that corner, in the five-hole. After many years, I got it so that I could make my shots with my eyes closed. Now when I am on the ice, in the middle of a big game, I just pretend I am looking at the box.
SHLD: A born shooter like you must really enjoy playing for a team like Dakota, which is geared toward offense.
AG: Yes, I like it very much. To me, this is the heart of hockey: speed and skill. Close timing, skillful passes. It is a ballet on skates, and it is beautiful.
SHLD: Obviously, other teams in the league have a very different philosophy, teams like Michigan and Quebec.
AG: Yes, their style is heavy and hard. Hard hits, blood on the ice. I think it is ugly, but I know it is Canadian and American style. In Russia, we grew up on the game of Tarasov, Tretiak, like that. Very fluid and beautiful.
SHLD: You are one of the smaller players in the league at only 5’7″. Some of the league’s harder-hitting defensemen have targeted you because of your size, figuring they can push you around.
AG: Yes, but they are slow and I can skate around them! (laughs)
SHLD: So you don’t find that your size is a challenge when playing hockey at the highest level?
AG: No, I do not. In the end, it is the skill that makes the player, not the height. Would I like to be a tall man like Jumbo Joe [Freedlander]? Maybe it would be nice, especially when dealing with ladies. But for hockey, I am happy to be just as I am.
SHLD: Let’s talk about the Jackalopes for a moment. Despite playing in a beautiful style, as you put it, you haven’t been able to keep up with the division powers in Michigan and Anchorage. What do you think has held you back from greater success?
AG: It is difficult for me to say. But I think one important thing is that those teams, they can dictate their type of play. Michigan likes to slow it down, and it is very hard to prevent that. Anchorage is faster, but they are very smart with possession; they control the ice.
SHLD: There’s some talk about Dakota rebuilding this offseason. Are you worried what might happen to the team in the future?
AG: I have many friends on the team, and I will be said if they are not around anymore. But I am sure we will still have many good players, and we will still be a good team.
SHLD: One last question. You’ve been in Dakota for almost two years now. Have you ever seen a jackalope?
AG: (laughs) When I was a rookie, some of the older guys on the team took me and the other rookie out to the Badlands to go on a jackalope hunt. They sent us rookies out ahead to do “scouting,” while they went back to Wall Drug and had some beers. I never saw a jackalopes, but I saw a snake. I do not get along with snakes at all. When I saw him, I think I ran all the way out of the Badlands by myself.
SHLD: Sounds like quite the adventure! Well, thank you for your time, Arkady, and best of luck.
AG: This was a fun talk. I hope we can do it again.