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“Your boy slaughtered everyone.” Ukrainian coach turned Matthews into an NHL superstar

Date: April 21, 2024 Time: 21:22:30

Auston Matthews is racing at full speed towards a historic season for the NHL of the 21st century: if there are no injuries or off-ice problems so common this season, the Toronto forward will surpass the 70-goal mark. If the current schedule holds (which is unlikely to happen), the American will score 77 goals in a full season; all the spotlights are directed at him, especially since he plays for the most talked-about club in the NHL.

How an American scores goals:

This has never happened in the NHL in the 21st century! Matthews is tearing up the league, breaking his own records.

Auston was born in non-hockey California, then moved to even more non-hockey Arizona, and in his childhood biography there is an extremely unusual line: playing for Kharkov “Friendship” in an international children’s tournament. Matthews was the only one on this team who played at a serious level and he played incredibly. But how else did the then-beardless Matthews try on the “Friendship” T-shirt?

It all started when, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, kyiv coach Boris Dorozhenko decided to go to Mexico. “Although Mexican hockey was exotic, it seemed to me that there were more perspectives here. I was interested in training players in a country that was not hockey at all. Initially, I was going to go only for a few years and improve my financial situation,” Dorozhenko said in an interview with Allhockey in 2021. After the Mexicans showed themselves well against the Arizona team, Dorozhenko was offered to move north; Among those who insisted on this were Matthews’ parents, whom the coach managed to meet at the tournament.

“Auston’s dad called me and asked, “Well, are you ready to move?” I replied: “I need to think for a month.” But he called again two weeks later: “Come faster. The kids are looking forward to seeing you.” And I decided that I would go away for two or three years and come back if something went wrong. But my stay here was long and Arizona managed to prepare a lot of good players,” Dorozhenko said. He lived in the house of Dorozhenko’s grandparents. Matthews for two years and established good relationships with the entire family of the future star of the league. Gradually, Dorozhenko began to establish relationships with other hockey people: Arizona general manager Mike Barnett and Coyotes star , Jeremy Roenick, who entrusted Dorozhenko with his son, were interested in the coach’s success in Mexico.

Boris Dorozhenko and Matthews autograph card

Photo: nhl.com

The coach noticed Matthews’ incredible work ethic from a young age. “Auston went with me everywhere. If he went to Canada, my parents would let him go, he would fly there with me and we would live in the same room. Almost like my son. We came to train with him one day. He skated with one group for three hours and told me, “I’ll stay another three hours with the next group.” Then he came home and it seemed like he must be without his hind legs, but I saw him pick up a soccer ball: “Let’s play soccer.” And he again he will leave until the night. “I can barely stand, what the hell is a football jersey?” Dorozhenko recalled in a conversation with the NHL website in 2017.

“I can’t say that in any way he stood out at the childhood level: there were stronger boys. The highlights are good coordination and innovative thinking. Once on the plane, Auston and a friend managed to arrange a fight in the hallway. So he was a very athletic guy. Furthermore, Matthews was very attentive and never lost concentration,” the coach later said about the strengths of his student.

But how did he play in the Kharkov team? In the early 90s, Druzhba, for whom the young Dainius Zubrus then played, participated in one of the Mexican tournaments, and Dorozhenko met Ivan Pravilov, who then headed the Kharkov club. The two coaches engaged in a conversation that lasted a long time. “Druzhba” continued to travel to international tournaments, he was supported by Zubrus, who had already matured and played in the NHL, and one day the team needed reinforcements. Pravilov, who by that time had managed to coach the Ukrainian youth team, asked an old friend for a strong player and Dorozhenko sent him Matthews.

“After the match, Pravilov called me and said: “Boris Yuryevich, I take my hat off to you. Your boyfriend came and slaughtered everyone here. I got off the plane in time for the second half and scored three goals in one half. This boy is going to be a star. Remember these words. “These words are etched in my memory. This was not like Pravilov. He was a very reserved and reserved person, who built up everyone around him and never praised anyone,” Dorozhenko later recalled.

The fates of the two coaches turned out to be very different. Pravilov’s life ended tragically: in 2007 he moved to the United States to obtain permanent residency after being accused of beating employees of the Kharkov Sports Palace. In 2012, the coach was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student and was arrested, but the case never came to trial: Pravilov hanged himself in a pre-trial detention cell. After the coach’s death, other Pravilov students accused him of cruel treatment and the Druzhba school collapsed.

Boris Dorozhenko and Auston Matthews

Photo: nhl.com

Dorozhenko could have moved to the Islanders, where he was invited to be a skating coach, but he refused: he did not want to constantly travel with the team. Matthews noted and points out Dorozhenko’s enormous role in his development: he calls him “Uncle Boris.” “Every day he took everything possible from me to make me play better. There were times when you hated it all, but in the long run it was good for you and now you laugh about that moment,” Matthews told Sportsnet.

Other notable players who studied at the Dorozhenko school include Jake Debrusk, Tyson Barry, Alex Galchenyuk and Nikolai Knyzhov. “At 15 years old it was already clear that he was a future NHL player,” the coach said of the current defenseman in the San Jose system. He still maintains constant contact with Matthews, he managed to play for Druzhba in a couple of other small tournaments and in 2017 he said that he maintained a contract with teammates with whom he briefly crossed paths.

* 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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