Russian Prospects: Svitov and Chistov tell their own stories

By Eugene Belashchenko

Soviet Sport

By: Dmitri Ponomarenko

By: Eugene Belashchenko


Trio of Avangard’s Hawks: A Kalashnikov machine gun or a hockey stick?


year two of Omsk’s forwards, Stanislav Chistov and Alexander Svitov, who were
drafted in the first round 5th and 3rd overall, had to switch their hockey
uniform for kaki pants and shirt.  Due
to the conflict between Avangard and NHL Anaheim and Tampa Bay teams, the young
players became military personnel and had to spend several weeks in barracks. 
The players hardly had time to resume playing in the Super League when
clouds appeared above their heads once again. 
This time they were claimed by the Department of Defensive.  


my opinion, both times the players turned out to be scape goats.  
Are they really guilty that the basis for the relationship between our
teams and the NHL is still not lawfully enforced? The interests of Russian teams
should be defended not by the Defense Ministry, but by a straightforward and
reasonable agreement between the FHR and the NHL. 
So far the only ones who suffer are the young talents. 


Avangard’s conflicts with the NHL did not go by the guys without a cost 
— thinks Avangard’s head coach Genadiy Tsygurov – The
technical, physical and especially the psychological situation of Svitov and
Chistov was quite grim.  It seems
that there were too many emotions when they were chosen high in the draft. 
We hoped that during the time of November’s break in the season they
would be able to restore their form.  Unfortunately,
it can turn out that these talented hockey players will have to say good bye to
hockey for a year and a half.  The management of the Army team acted dishonorably. 
To take players from the team in the middle of a season, especially prior
to a flight for another road game… Any coach understands what kind of a shock
this is.  If this practice will
become CSKA’s rule, then this will be the end of local development programs.


 I was called a deserter


At the Wold Junior Championships 2001 in Finland I injured my knee, — tells
Stanislav Chistov – Anaheim agreed to draft me, but only under the
condition that I would conduct rehabilitation of the injury in America. 
The argument was that the experts there were better. 
They wanted to make sure that the injury would be completely healed. 
After the course of physical therapy I was supposed to return to Omsk,
and next year to return to the Ducks’ training camp. 
Prior my departure to the States I asked my agent to inform Avangard
regarding my location.  I was sure
that they were aware.  In Anaheim I
mainly dealt with the doctors and the physical fitness coach. 
He showed me exercises for the knee rehabilitation.  I did not step on the ice. I did not sign any contract.


after a week and a half a call came from Omsk. 
The management of the team talked to me quite sharply. 
They called me a deserter.   I
flew home right away.  I made this
absolutely on my own initiative, as I did not plan to remain in America. 
Regardless, in Omsk I was right away sent to the sports regiment [of the
Airborne forces].  My service there
continued for 11 days during which I practically did not do a thing, though I
did wear army boots.  Of course, I
was disappointed that everything panned out the way it did. 
The future seemed uncertain.  It
was bitter to end up in such a situation, loosing the form because the teams did
not agree amongst each other.  I did
not even think of letting someone down.  
Then I was returned to the team.  I
started to practice.  The Ducks did
not talk to me again.  In Avangard
this question was not even raised. 


planned on spending another 2 years with the Hawks. 
I need play, develop.  But
after what happened in Moscow, I am completely blind regarding my future. 
We are all waiting for the 31st of October. 


Svitov: I am considered a millioner in Omsk.


signed the contract with Tampa on the 15th of August – says Alexander
– the Americans sent it to me by fax and I signed it. 
We agreed that I would attend the training camp. 
If I made the main team, then I would stay. 
In the worst case I would return home and spend another season with
Avangard.  I ended up at a
crossroads.  The contract satisfied
me.  And it was very prestigious to
make the main lineup of the Lightning.  From
another perspective, I was being stopped by the scandal that happened to
Stanislav Chistov.  In the end I did
not fly anywhere.  I decided to wait
until Tampa notified the management of my team. 
Instead of that 12 hours before the beginning of the Super League season
from across the ocean came a fax, which prohibited me to play in Russia. 
As a result I ended up in VDV.  
The same division where I already spent a year “serving my military
duty”, playing hockey for Omsk.  I
lived with everyone in the barracks.  I
did not get to jump with a parachute.  Though,
I would not have been surprised if I had to serve in the airborne forces for an
entire year.  I decided not to get
down on myself.   I ran,
trained bench in the local gym.  Of
course for the three and a half weeks away from the ice I seriously lost my
playing form.  My friends from the team did not forget me, coming to see me
several times.  Gennadiy Tsyigurov
came as well.  We talked that
somehow this story would need to be brought to an end, and I would continue
playing for Avangard.       


I played in the lower league with Omsk’s farm team.  
After which Tampa allowed me to play in the Super League and I was
returned to the Hawks.  I have not
yet fully recovered.  You always
need to practice. My contract with Avangard is for another 4 years. 
That is why I don’t know when I will be allowed to leave for the NHL. 
I will play hockey and regain what I lost.


I feel empty.  Considering also, that it is an unpleasant story touched not
only me, but also my family.  My
father worries.  He was charged in
the press that he raced after the money, pushed me to sign the contract in the
NHL.  It was written about me that
in the city appeared a millionaire in a military uniform. 
I did not get any money from the Lightning.  Even the bonus would be paid after I make it into the main
lineup of the team.   Regarding
the judicial process between Tampa Bay and Avangard, I don’t care about it . 
I am not being judged.


now my parents lived through another shock. 
As, anyway have we, when last Thursday at the Hotel Yunnost (Youth),
where Hawk were preparing for the flight for a match in Habarovsk, came a police
regiment.  Escorted by five guards,
me, Kiril Koltsov and Stas [Stanislav Chistov – EB] to a police station
from which we were then taken by an Army Major. 
So that is how we ended up on a base of HK CSKA. 
It was explained to us that as privates in the Russian Army, we were
transferred to carry out the rest of our service to CSKA. 
Our passports, seemingly, in possession of the management of the army. 
We were placed at a resort  for
civil aviation, where we will be until the decision of the PHL. 
After that, whatever happens, I will be ready for anything.  I hope that we will not be left outside hockey. Though, right
now we even don’t have athletic uniforms. 
We don’t have an idea where and when we will try them on again. 
Right now we are just getting some sleep. 
We are not limited in our freedom.  We
attend hockey matches. What else are we left to do.


Bardin: I do not accuse the players


Right now the young players got a new trendy theme: “I had an injury. 
I left to rehabilitate”, — says the president of HK Avangard Anatoliy
Bardin – This is all made up by the agents. 
They are used to do their things, beyond law, ignoring our contracts with
the players.  At first we wanted to
talk calmly with Anaheim.  But they
did not at all return our phone calls, then laughed at us. 
However, when we got the documents together and established our rights,
their tone suddenly became civilized.n  Right
now we have an agreement, according to which, Chistov will play for Avangard,
and at the same time will serve in the army. 
Though, in connection to the transfer for Stas to Moscow, everything got
complicated.  The contract between
Tampa Bay and Svitov is not valid.  Between
IIHF and NHL there is a memorandum, section 8.8 which states that teams of the
cross ocean league do not have the right to sign contracts with military
personnel.  In a established time there will be a court session in
Florida where we, acting as plaintiffs will demand that Tampa pay us for
Svitov’s case. 


do not accuse the players.  In their age, everyone can make mistakes.  
I explained everything to them.  You
will leave across the ocean.  What
if it does not work out? You will be back and by law until you are 28 years old
you can be drafted.  I think they
understood everything.  They need to
calmly serve, develop themselves.  Though,
they clearly can’t serv quietly.  If
CSKA starts to conduct this type of politics, young talents start to run away
across the ocean prior to the serving age. 
I respect our laws, according to them, any military serviceman can be
transferred to another base.  But
these guys are not only soldiers, but are hockey players, and besides the army
laws, they have to adhere to athletic ones – The Russian Hockey League, 
and there it clearly states that players can’t be transferred to
another team without a team’s agreement. 
These players will be either playing for Avangard, or server in the army.  
The fact that our players will be left outside of hockey will be thanks
to CSKA. We did not fight with the NHL for this. 
On the 31st of October the issue will be decided in our favor.