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Artyom Zub: "I will always support SKA, remembering the great support I had"

Artyom Zub
HC SKA press-service

- You joined SKA from Amur Khabarovsk during the 2016/2017 season when you were 21 years of age. What were your first impressions from playing in Saint Petersburg?

- At first I felt nervous, it was the first time when I left to play in a different city than my hometown of Khabarovsk. I played in SKA's second match after arriving in Saint Petersburg, and I was very impressed by how the organisation works. Every aspect of the game and training process is taken into account here.

- In your maiden season with SKA, you won the KHL Gagarin Cup. How did it feel?

- Towards the end of the season, I was paired up with Andrei Zubarev, and we subsequently played together for the whole of the playoffs. Our task was to play a lot on the penalty kill and not concede goals. We had a strong team, every player knew his respective role, and we simply needed to play well. Everything was excellent.

- What emotions do you have from the fifth match in Magnitogorsk and the victory parade in Saint Petersburg?

- It was fantastic! The cup, the victory parade...I hadn't even had time to fully come to terms with becoming a SKA player! The decisive game against Metallurg in Magnitogorsk? We all tried our best. It was the first time when I participated in the Gagarin Cup playoffs. The two months of the playoffs took a long time, but the emotions were wonderful.

Artyom Zub: "I will always support SKA, remembering the great support I had"

- You subsequently played at the 2018 Olympic Games. Could you imagine that you would experience these events in such a short period of time?

- It all happened within one year. Of course, I had my dreams, but I couldn't imagine that everything would happen so quickly.

- Are you happy with your achievements with SKA?

- All of the required facilities to just play ice hockey and not think about anything else are here. I don't like to rate my own performances, though. I can only say that every day at training, I tried to improve and help the team as much as I could. Our victories with SKA and the national team mean a lot to me. There is a bit of disappointment, though, because we could have become champions every season. The squad allowed us to achieve that, but it's our own fault that we didn't always win.

- Why did you score so many goals during the 2019/2020 campaign?

- During my first couple of seasons, I mainly stayed in defence, but last year I began started joining the rush more. This year, I have been able to take advantage of my scoring opportunities. It's difficult to describe why, I simply worked hard in pre-season. I analysed my performances and tried to take the initiative. A lot of players left SKA last summer, it was clear that I needed to play with the initiative on a more regular basis. I am happy that I had such a productive season.

- What are your plans for the short term?

- I am planning to travel to Khabarovsk, but I will have to sit indoors for two weeks without seeing anyone. I have spent the last month at home in Saint Petersburg. I have continued training every day, I speak to the coaches via video call. I purchased an indoor training bike and put it on my balcony. I sometimes play computer games and read books. In the evening, we go to the shop and for a walk. I think that my self-isolation is very much like the one which everyone has.

- More young players are receiving chances with the main SKA team. How is the infrastructure helping them develop?

- I think that SKA have the best facilities in Russia, everything has been done for the players. The training base and the stadium are fantastic. The staff, masseurs, coaches - the level here is very high. As a player, you only have to have the desire to develop and progress.

- Do you have a few words for the fans and your teammates?

- Of course, I am grateful to everyone! We fought for each other. It was an honour for me to play with them. I received satisfaction from every game and training session, we had an excellent atmosphere within the team. I hope that the players continue progressing and making the fans happy. Hopefully, another Gagarin Cup will be won by Saint Petersburg! I thank the fans for their support, they supported me personally and gave me gifts. The atmosphere at the Ice Palace is amazing, I can't remember when there was a game which wasn't sold out. The fans always support us on the road too. I will always support SKA, remembering the great support I had. I extend a huge thank you to the management for creating the facilities which are here, for the opportunity to play and for the chance to win with this team. I thank the coaches and all of the staff, including the technicians, the masseurs, the administrators, the video coaches, the press office and the security guards. I will always remember and appreciate what you do for the team.

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