Telegin looks forward to continued success in North America

By Alessandro Seren Rosso
Photo: Ivan Telegin has spent the past two seasons adapting to the North American style of game. (Photo courtesy of Shawn Reznik)

Not long ago, Russian forward Ivan Telegin was signed to an entry-level contract by the Winnipeg Jets. The 19-years-old forward is already used to the North American brand of hockey as he spent the latest two seasons in the OHL, playing for the Saginaw Spirit. Earlier this summer he was traded to the Barrie Colts of the same league.

Telegin told in Russian that he is truly satisfied about his early move from his native Russia to North America. "Yes, I am satisfied about my move overseas, where I spent the last two seasons. I think that moving away from Russia was a good decision, the right decision."

He also said that the reason that drove him to report to the OHL was pretty simple, "I decided to move overseas as I really like the North American style of hockey, it’s so different from the Russian one, there are more battles for the puck, and so on."

He also denied to have received any offer from the KHL so far, "Well, to get an accurate reply to this question you should actually ask my agent, as it’s him who deals with such situations," Telegin replied with a smile. "However, as far as I know, there were no offers for me from Russia, including from my mother club, Metallurg Novokuznetsk."

As for most of young Russian moving abroad, it wasn’t easy for Telegin to adapt to the new environment and new situation, as well as to the different language. "The first few months, especially the first one, were of course pretty tough, everything was new. But they helped me a lot, the coach helped me during the practices, and so with time everything was easier."

Telegin had a good 2010-11 campaign with the Spirit, getting 61 points in 59 games, even if his goal production went down from 26 to 20. "I think the last season was a good one for me. I managed to get more points, and I am sure that if it wasn’t for the injuries I would have scored even more!"

But his North American seasons weren’t good only to score points and get acquainted with a new system of play, other than making yourself get more evident for scouts. The process was also good to become a better player. "My game improved a lot since I started playing in North America. I think that the areas in which I improved the most are the game around the crease and along the boards."

Telegin is a versatile player who can play both center and winger. He started his career playing as center, but in Canada he was moved to the wing. "Frankly speaking, I prefer when my coach ices me as winger."

Telegin, whose idol is Washington Capitals‘ Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin, doesn’t remember much about his early life in Novokuznetsk, a rather large city in Western Siberia. "I think that it would be better asking my parents and other relatives about my childhood. I am sure they remember much better who I was while growing up", Telegin explained with a loud laugh.

The Jets’ newly signed player, who gave this interview while still training alone in Russia gearing up for the new season, explained that he missed home while spending abroad most of the year, "Sure, of course I missed home and Russia. You know, there’s my girlfriend living there. There are also my parents, my other relatives and, of course, my friends."

Telegin also admitted that in the offseason most of his time is devoted to his girlfriend. "Now in Novokuznetsk I spend most of my time with my girlfriend, you know, I don’t have much time for my beloved ones during the hockey season."

And now that he signed an entry-level deal with his NHL team, he set his personal task for the next season, "I will try hard to get a spot within the Winnipeg Jets line up."

Ivan Telegin will most likely be one of the leading forwards at the upcoming 2012 World Junior Championship, after playing five games in the 2010 edition and missing the 2011 Team Russia triumph due to a shoulder injury.