Anton Volchenkov
The A Train
Anton Volchenkov

September 15, 2000

Fetisov Quits - Volchenkov Emerges

On August 27, 2000 Vyacheslav Fetisov scored the game-winner as he bade farewell to his Russian fans and skated into history at an exhibition game in his honour, packed with Russian and North American NHL stars.

That day Slava heartily thanked his family, his father, his wife and daughter, for being a great support in his long hockey life. He passed the captaincy of the Russian national team to Pavel Bure. There was also a touching moment when he memorized his first steps in hockey and the man, his first coach Yuri Chabarin, who had been helping him to grew up into the legendary player of the Soviet Team all that time.

It was twice pleasant to realize that though Slava quitted, Yuri Chabarin was still going on to produce Fetisov calibre players. One of the latest was a much promising 18 years of age defenseman Anton Volchenkov.

A strong, quick skater who is always involved in the game ... has good acceleration and is quick to the puck ... a very good playmaker with strong passing skills ... has a high overall skill level.

This guy was ranked 10th among Europeans on the CSS Mid-Term Report, his final ranking is 10th ... won a Silver Medal with Russia in the under-18 2000 World Championships (1-0-1 in 6GP). Anton was named one of the best players on the Team Russia. All this made him 21st overall selection of Ottawa Senators at the 2000 Entry Draft.

What do we know about him and his life? Anton was born in a very sporting family. His brother and father, the latest popular CSKA defenceman of the late 70-ths and the beginning of 80-ths, have been playing pro hockey. Surprisingly but it was his mother who made him to follow his father's and brother's footsteps. She had been keenly taking care of Anton while he was a little boy. His mother had been awaking him at 7 o'clock in the morning and then accompanied to the CSKA Moscow hockey school. Only when Anton grew-up a little bit, he became a fourth year student of the primary school, the mother allowed him to go there on his own. In 1989 the family moved to Kiev, Ukrain, where Volchenkov was admitted to famous hockey school SOKOL Kiev. His uncle was the director of hockey school SOKOL in Kiev that time. In a year he returned Moscow to be coached by his primary coach Yuri Chabarin. That was he who managed to inculcate in Volchenkov a taste for a real hockey. Slava Fetisov was a nice sample to follow.

So Anton started to play for junior CSKA Moscow. Soon he was invited by Boris Mikhailov to the senior club team. That time he had to reject his proposal because Viktor Tikhonov wanted to see him on the roster of HC CSKA. Anton couldn't miss the opportunity to play under such an experienced coach. At the time he had already became a full member of the team and the things went well for him he got an upsetting injury. His hand finger had been broken by a tremendous puck shot. Nevertheless soon everything was ok with his finger and Volchenkov was selected to the 2000 JWC for Under-18 teams held in Switzerland.

Memorizing NHL draft ceremony he had commented, "I'm glad that now I belong to Ottawa Senators. I think the club has hardly expected that the player like me can be not be selected earlier but only 21st. Judging by the information I have been having and pre draft forecasts me should be selected earlier but all is well that ends well. Ottawa have been paying attention to my play for a long time and I'm quite contented to be selected by this NHL team."

After the 2000 Entry Draft he made a decision to transfer to the club of the Higher Russian League Krylia Soviets Moscow.

So for the nearest future he hopes to gain some more invaluable hockey experience in Russia helping Krylia Soviets to get an advancement to the Super League and only in two years to join Ottawa Senators. All that time he keeps in mind the brightest sample of a hockey player like Slava Fetisov.

Denis Neznanov
HockeyZone's Russian Correspondent

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