MHL Stars: Alexei Marchenko

17-years old defenseman, Red Army hot prospect talks about what’s important for youngsters and about what’s needed to do in order to have them remain in Russia and not bolting for the NHL. Translated interview from www.championat.ru

I’m a bit tired as there was movement, tension. But it was pleasant to work that way. It was the first time and everything is new – said Alexei Marchenko. It was pleasant to be shown in the league’s photo-session. But it brings responsibilities…

Which ones?

Well, once you are selected as “league’s face” you have to show that you deserve it. There will be many things around you. And you have to work harder on you to become successful.

Did you ever had such an attention on you from the press? You had more interviews today than in your whole life…

(laughs) You said that! But I think that it’s possible to get used to it. I really want that journalists will write and talk more about us. And that they will show us more. That would be interesting, otherwise it looks that you’re playing for yourself only.

Do you expect a lot of changes from the creation of the MHL?

Of course. There will be more attention on young players on the press, television, internet. That’s the most important thing, I guess, as people will know more about us and our style. Earlier only the experts know about youngster tournaments, or not? Well, also our parents. And that’s pretty much all. Almost no one knew us a part ourselves. But now the MHL will help the usual hockey fans to know more about us, about the generation of players that will soon represent Russia on the international stage. I guess that this will be interesting for the people. And it’s a big plus. And the league will interact well with the KHL as all the players will be seen more.

And the attention is for you young players the most important thing, isn’t it?

Yes! I really want to play and exhibit in front of many spectators. Usually in the junior leagues there are like 300 persons. Wow, what is that?!?! Who knows who won the junior leagues last year? I think not much people knows that. But everyone will know who’ll win the Kharlamov Cup. I think that any player wants to be recognized by the fans. We do play for the fans, and not for ourselves.

Do you like the Cup’s denomination? Kharlamov Cup?

It’s a very good denomination. And it’s correct. I’m glad about it. Kharlamov will be appreciated in 50 years, in 100 years, even in 150. His name will never die. He will be remembered. He was a great player, known in all over the world. The cup will be named after him and that’s right. To be the first conqueror of the cup would be honourable.

Do you expect that the junior hockey organization would raise after the creation of the MHL?

Yes, it should. But don’t know how. At CSKA it was all good even earlier. I can’t say anything bad about the organization. And if it will be even better, then it would be great.

Which aims did you set up for the upcoming season?

To win the first MHL title. The first Kharlamov Cup. And only that! I also would like to play a couple of games for the main team. It would be good to play some matches.

When you estimate to be permanently called to the first team?

I don’t know. When it will turn out. I’ll work and try hard. All depend on I’ll play in the MHL. Of course I want to be there as soon as possible. I think that it’s getting more real now. It’s possible to get to the first team only if you play well in the junior league and if you prove to be one of the best players of your age group. And then if the coach sees you, you’ll get in. You only have to work.

In your opinion, there will be many changes in CSKA with Vyacheslav Bykov leaving and Sergei Nemchinov coming? How this will influence the future of the CSKA young players and yours in particular?

The team is really young, and as I’ve understood, they will trust youngsters a lot. I’ve never worked under Nemchinov, but he was the national junior team’s coach and he grabbed the third place at the WJC. That’s a good result. They almost won against Canada. The results say that he’s a good coach with youngsters. And if in CSKA there will be more youngsters that will be a plus for me and for the other guys. It’s our chance.

Any youngster dreams about the NHL. You too?

I’m still under contract with CSKA and I see my future only with this team. I still have a lot to work and to play to grow to a higher level. I’ll think about that only if I’ll reach that level. In the meantime I want to play for CSKA, I’ll try hard to get to the first team. But of course thinking about the NHL doesn’t hurt. (smiles)

How do you think, is it really possible that Russian young players will stop dreaming about the NHL and understand that there is a great opportunity for them to play in Russia?

All depends on the KHL. The NHL, thanks to his enormous history and such, it’s a lot popular. There are a lot of spectators and the media reports about everything. If in the KHL it will be the same, then what’s the point of going there? It’s a matter of organization.

And what can you say after KHL’s inaugural season?

You could have seen the improvements from the old Superliga straight away, it became considerably better. Even the matches became more interesting. Some NHL players arrived. Jaromir Jagr. Now Sergei Fedorov. Anyone would play with such players. Of course nothing can immediately change. But I really want to play in the KHL after this season. We'll see how it will be in a few years. To speak the truth, why go to the NHL, if it's possible to play in the KHL at the same level? You know, many guys just want to play where the stands are filled and that's the reason they look to America. Because here they wouldn't need anything special. But that's the past. Now there is the MHL, the KHL. Players want to come here from the NHL. Let them not be the younger ones. But it's not the end of the game. And Jiri Hudler arrived to Dinamo, he's 25. It's remarkable, that a player on his peak opted not for the NHL, but for the KHL.


- Alexei Marchenko was born in Moscow in January 2nd, 1992
- He's 6'0”, 163 lbs
- A graduate of the Spartak junior system, he moved to CSKA when the team folded three years ago.
- He's a regular of Russia-92 national team and he just participated to the last Ivan Hlinka Memorial, where he posted one goal and three points in four games.
- A right stick offensive defenseman, can play on both sides and is very versatile.
- He was featured in the first MHL photo-session and in the Moscow ads.

1 comment:

  1. where does prospect Maksin Kitsin play right now..i tried to find online if he has played any KHL league games this season but can not find his name anywhere
    thanks for you help