International Ice Hockey Federation

Russian legend

Russian legend

Kamenski talks about his career

Published 18.12.2015 22:13 GMT+2 | Author Alexander Yakobson
Russian legend
Valeri Kamenski at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. Photo: IIHF Archive
Valeri Kamenski was the first Russian Triple Gold Club member. He won the 1988 Olympics and three World Championships with the Soviet Union.

And in 1996 he won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in a career that included many beautiful goals.

Some days ago, Valeri Kamenski found out that he will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame on 22 May 2016 in Moscow on the final day of the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Hockey Championship. IIHF.com had the chance to speak with him on Friday at the charity game "Hockey Russia - the link between generations", which was held on the off day of the Channel One Cup that is currently being held at the Ice Palace in Moscow, which will also serve as the primary venue of the next World Championship.

“It’s nice when the IIHF President said that I will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rene Fasel called me personally to tell the news,” said Kamenski. “For any player it means recognition of achievements. The message was a big surprise for me. It’s a pleasure to know it before the New Year. It’s also great because the Ice Hockey World Championship will take place in Russia. This makes it even more prestigious. All the hockey community is getting ready for it. I hope our team will perform well.”

The career of the left winger started perfectly. To NHL fans, Kamenski first burst onto the scene a year before, during the Rendez-vous ’87 in Quebec City. He scored twice and added an assist in the second of the two-game series, a 5-3 win which gave the Soviets a split in the memorable showdown. While Wayne Gretzky was named MVP for Team Canada, Kamenski was named the top Soviet player. He was still only 20 years old. But for Kamenski the perception of this event has changed in the meantime.

“When you win in big competitions, you don’t immediately realize its significance and importance. Now I understand that in those moments I made history. It’s very nice to remember that.”

At the 1990 World Championship in Switzerland Kamenski hit Swedish defender Ulf Samuelsson at his forehead. It was a less glamorous event in his career but a violation that changed the rules for the better.

“I was young and spirited and didn't understand that it was wrong to do so. But it’s nice people remember those events. The penalty calls for such incidents have changed since that moment. This is an important fact,” he said.

In 1996, together with Alexei Gusarov, Kamenski became the first Russian to join Triple Gold Club. Before that he just missed the Stanley Cup for this honorary membership. With the Colorado Avalanche he won the most important hockey trophy in North America.

“In the life of each athlete such milestones are important. It is difficult to compare, because each of them has its own story,” Kamenski said about the championships he won.

In 1997 Kamenski scored a jaw-dropping goal. Playing for Colorado against Florida, he curled to the net as Avs teammate Gusarov brought the puck in over the blue line. Gusarov waited until Kamenski was in front of the goal and made a pass. Kamenski got the puck off balance, and as he spun in the air he back-handed the puck between the goalie’s pads.

“I try to keep myself in shape and of course I want perform something like that again, but it’s not easy now. That goal, of course, was brilliant. Although I also scored beautiful goals in 1996,” said Kamenski.

When the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place next to the Ice Palace in the Russian and Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame that will open by then next door, the Kamenski and the attendees will be able to relive many highlights of his career again before he will officially become part of the Hall of Fame.

 

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