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“The first games did not cause panic. Everything was under control.” Interview with the CEO of Dinamo

Date: June 22, 2024 Time: 15:12:39

On September 14, an ordinary meeting of the board of directors of the Kontinental Hockey League was held at the Moscow Hockey Museum. This was quite surprising for 49-year-old Belarusian official Sergei Sushko. Originally from Brest, previously a member of the KHL board of directors as general director of Dynamo Minsk, he was removed from the list of participants, since the new director of the Belarusian club is now Artem Karkotsky.

In turn, Sushko himself continued to participate in the meeting in his new position: as general director of Dinamo Moscow. The official moved to the Russian club in the summer of 2023. In a new conversation with the “Championship” correspondent, Sergei Anatolyevich shared his opinion on the development of the league, discussed the possible increase in the club’s costs in connection with the introduction of the crossover playoffs of the second round of the Gagarin Cup, and also analyzed the start of the blue and white season in the KHL.

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As of mid-September, Alexey Kudashov’s team is in third place in the Western Conference, riding a three-game winning streak, which also includes an away victory over the winner of the last two Gagarin Cups, CSKA (4- 1). Although the Moscow Club Championship began with two defeats in three home games.

“All decisions made by the KHL were correct. “Sponsors flocked to the league.”

– An interesting point has to do with your situation on the KHL board of directors. You were removed from the list of participants, as you had previously represented Dinamo Minsk and were not again appointed head of Dinamo Moscow, but you still participated in the meeting. – Yes it’s correct. Today I was present as a representative of the former board of directors of the KHL, and now only as the director of the hockey club (the board of directors of the KHL consisted of three parts; first there was a meeting of the former board of directors, where Sushko was, then there was a general meeting of participants, where a new composition was elected, and then a meeting of the new board of directors (- Note from the “Championship”).

– What were the main topics discussed at the KHL board of directors meeting on Thursday? – We discussed things related to the development of KHL. The league is moving in the right direction. All decisions are correct and absolutely timely. They discussed issues of financial discipline, gender and salary caps. Everyone agreed that the decisions made by the league were correct. Practice has shown it. Life has shown it.

The league has increased its commercial attractiveness, sponsors have flocked to the KHL and this means that people understand that the league is an attractive product. Therefore, we hope that the KHL will continue to develop in the same direction and improve every year.

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“The crossover playoffs are a very good decision. “Flights will not play a major role in the financial cauldron.”

– One of the main decisions made during the work of the previous KHL board of directors was the introduction of cross-qualifiers starting from the second round. How do you feel about him? – I repeat once again that all KHL decisions are aimed at increasing commercial attractiveness. First of all, clubs play for the spectators. I believe that in the confrontation between East and West, the sooner the final begins, the higher the television ratings will be and the more spectators there will be in the stands. So this is a very good solution.

– Skeptics of the idea speak of a significant increase in costs associated with logistics. Same flights. – Understand, this is my personal opinion: these flights will not play a big role in the overall financial cauldron. We play for the fans. And the league is trying to be attractive, and for it to be attractive, there must be high ratings and a lot of people in the stands. Then the KHL will make more money and the league will always honestly share its income from television rights and the commercial component with the clubs. Therefore, this will not be a big problem for the clubs.

“The first games didn’t cause anyone to panic. “The coaching staff had everything under control.”

– Did Dynamo’s latest results add positivity after a difficult start to the championship? – Yes, it was a normal start. Anyone who watched our first games knows that we didn’t lose at any point in the game. Thank God, pah-pah-pah, so as not to curse, most of them are doing well. There are moments that show that the team did a good job in the preseason. Furthermore, the coaching staff did serious work and carried out high-quality analysis, specific reinforcements were made and the game that Dynamo now shows is nothing new for us.

We all expected this. We want to see a result like this and a game like this throughout the season. The first games did not cause panic or frustration in anyone, because we saw that the coaching staff had everything under control, the situation was manageable and the boys understood what the coach and his coaching staff demanded of them.

The season has just started and we have already set the KHL record for the number of goals scored in a row during a power play. You know that the actions of the teams when they play in majority and minority are precisely an indicator of the coach’s work. This is a complex and difficult component to establish, but our coaching staff was able to do it very quickly.

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– How important is it for expensive newcomers to fit in immediately and begin to prove themselves in the business? – If we take the entire KHL as a whole and globally analyze the total number of players, then our newcomers are not so expensive.

– This is simply understandable. But you know how it happens, sponsors gave money, spent it on specific players, bet on them, and if it doesn’t pay off, they can immediately start conversations about “who did you buy here.” – Thank God, this is not the case at Dynamo. Our sponsors are sensible people who understand that it always takes some time to adjust so that hockey players listen to and accept the demands of the coaching staff and can fit into the team. We didn’t have any panic or any type of escalation. Nikita Gusev himself is an outstanding player in the KHL and we knew very well who we were going to add to the team.

Here we must pay tribute to our shareholders, VTB Bank and the president of the Club, Viktor Voronin, who always tries to eliminate all negativity from the team so that the situation does not worsen. As they say, chickens are counted in the fall, but in hockey they are counted in the spring. Spring will come and then we will summarize some results. After three games played, it would be a complete mistake to aggravate the situation.

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“Predictable results are of no interest to anyone”

– Is the match against CSKA a standard for the type of hockey that Dinamo Moscow should strive for? Did you enjoy a great game played by the team? – The most beautiful thing about the game is the score on the scoreboard. In this match the score was beautiful and the play shown by the Dynamo team was very good. There are things we want to improve. This includes actions in equal number and the implementation of opportunities. In the match against CSKA, already in the first half there were many moments in which a second goal could be scored and decide the match.

We create great moments, but we cannot realize them. Therefore, we still have many opportunities to continue growing. We make a good game on equal terms, but what is being created does not materialize. When we start doing this, it will become another asset to the general fund.

– Does such a competitive start to the championship prove the correctness of introducing a ceiling and the chosen development strategy for the KHL? SKA has problems, CSKA has certain difficulties. – In any league, the more unpredictable the results are, the more attractive it will be for fans. Predictable results are of no interest to anyone. If we talk about specific clubs, each has its own training system. CSKA itself finished the championship at the end of April, maybe it has its own program, has competent leaders and a good coach. They understand what they are doing. But I repeat that the results must be summed up in spring. Then everything will be clear. Now it would be too early and incorrect to say who did what wrong.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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