Maxim Sushko: 68 matches? It’s better to play than practice!

Dynamo Moscow fans will have many acquaintances in the new KHL season. The team of Alexei Kudashov has been significantly updated. One of the newcomers is forward Maxim Sushko. Even in his youth, he went to conquer the ice across the ocean. During the pandemic, he played for Dynamo Minsk, and then again left for America. But he decided to return, and now the hockey player will defend the blue and white colors. Let’s get to know the attacker better.

– Maxim, how was your vacation?
I arrived in mid-May from America. I stayed at home in Brest, went to the village, spent time with my family – this is the best vacation for me. The village is located 100 km from Brest. My grandparents live there, so it is always a pleasure to visit them, eat rustic food, relax in nature with loved ones. My brother and I bought a walk-behind tractor for my grandfather and also drive.

HC “Dynamo” (Moscow)

– There you have a horse, judging by the social networks …
This horse, which is one for the whole village. Grandfather is responsible for him, so he lives on his site. And so the horse helps everyone, we rent it out (laughs). In the countryside, you can relax from the hustle and bustle of the city. Since last year, they also began to take friends with them. Grandma and grandpa are also pleased that we are coming in a big group. Grandmother only calls and asks for how many people to cook dinner – cutlets, pancakes. In recent years, I have not often been able to stay at home for a long time, so when I come after the season, I don’t really want to fly to the sea either. Plus, things are accumulating at home that need to be solved in parallel, so I’m resting in Brest. I spent 15 days there and flew to Minsk to prepare. There is no ice in Brest, you have to pervert to find it, but I didn’t want to lose my shape.


– How did you end up in Dynamo Moscow?

– Conversations with the father were at the end of the season. I knew that I wanted to return. There was a complex of reasons for this – not everyone gave what they wanted, and the situation had to be changed. Still, 6 years overseas. This is some kind of inner feeling, a desire for change. I wanted to play different hockey. There are still a lot of young guys in the AHL, but here they are older. It is not for nothing that the KHL is considered the second league in the world, and I understood that I would play here now.
I met with an agent, talked, drew a circle of teams that you can get into – here he already advised clubs, because he knows the league and my abilities, where to show them. There were a couple of suggestions, but we somehow took them lightly. But the offer from Dynamo Moscow was immediately accepted. I called my father (Sergey Sushko, general director of HC Dynamo Minsk) and said that I needed to be changed (laughs). The negotiations took some time – it was necessary to do everything honestly so that Minsk would not be deprived. It turned out to be a mutually beneficial exchange.

– On what grounds did the agent advise and prop up certain clubs for you?
– What kind of coaching staff, how they work with young people, what kind of hockey they play – such is the set of criteria. The agent already had a list of clubs, but I didn’t care what city I was in. The main thing is to have a good team where I can gain a foothold in the top 6 and play hockey.

– It turned out in Moscow – a big, noisy metropolis …
– I rented an apartment near the arena to be comfortable. But we have so many games in the season that there will be no time to have fun.

– You will have to spend a lot of time on the road, flights …
– Moscow in this regard is good because there are five teams in the city and the region – close to travel, fewer flights. In terms of geography, I was lucky.

– In the AHL, how many games are usually played in a season?
– From 76 to 80.

– So you’re no stranger to a tight calendar!

– I’m glad, because it’s better to play than to train! Moreover, there is a slightly different approach here – when there are pauses, there are practically mini-gatherings. Therefore, more matches are better.

– During the pandemic, you played for Dynamo Minsk and got to know the KHL a little. What rivals do you remember?
– It’s hard to say, because there are so many matches in the regular season that you don’t have time to remember your opponent. It is clear that such masters as Shipachev, Kagarlitsky stand out. SKA was a good team, Dynamo Moscow. We had Ryan Spooner in Minsk, from whom we can learn a lot. Probably, first of all, you look at the players of your team, you peep some tricks, the subtleties of training. Prince, Kozun, Spooner – they are interesting to watch.



– Tell us about your Canadian-American stage in your career. What difficulties did you have to face overseas?

– At first I was in Canada for three years. The main difficulty was with the language. Although I studied well at school, studied with a tutor, but you still come and you understand that everything is different. I flew to Canada, the migration service took me to a separate room and took my passport. The employee is trying to explain to me why she took the passport, but I don’t understand anything! Representatives of the club met me, but they still need to reach. In general, she tried to explain to me that everything was fine and that the passport would be returned soon, and I was already thinking what a horror this was! They gave me a temporary residence permit.
Then I played in a team where there were no Russians and I had to adapt faster – I learned it in 2-3 months, I could explain myself. The guys on the team helped. I went there with a baggage of vocabulary, but I already mastered the rules for constructing sentences in practice.
When you live on another continent, the first year is difficult. I even told the agent a couple of times that I wanted to leave. But we talked a lot with my parents – they set me up, talked about the fact that there are more global goals than six months in the junior league. These conversations put your brain in place, you start to think with your head, not with your emotions.

– In the NHL, you still played for the Flyers. What were your impressions?
– Then there were no fans, it’s hard to understand the atmosphere. But, in any case, when you sit in the locker room with Giroud, with Voracek, with the older boys, you feel a slight shiver. I can’t say that I was very worried, I was calm. I didn’t really spoil the first game (smiles). Deserves a chance to play again Winter classic. It is an unforgettable experience when you play outdoors among the mountains on the banks of the river. Played 15 minutes, which is a lot.

Social networks of Maxim Sushko

-It was cold?
No, it was in Florida, but a little higher. We played second, behind Colorado and Vegas. There was a day, and after the second period the match was postponed to the evening, because it became very warm. The ice melted.

– Would you play somewhere in Siberia at -30?

It’s still interesting! Maybe uncomfortable, but in terms of emotions – a cool experience. I think that all the guys will gladly want to participate.


– Have you closed the NHL page for yourself?
No. I originally wanted to sign a not very long contract and I think that two years is a good time to show what you are worth. I do not close the page, I have even more motivation to prove that I can play well, score points, help the team. And then go there as a more perfect player.

– What do you think, at what age is it better to go overseas – as a young or already established player?
Everything is very individual. Not everyone is allowed, like Kaprizov at the age of 17, to play in the KHL team in the first link. Someone plays in the Major League and does not get a chance in the KHL – then why not go? It cannot be said that someone is doing the right thing, and someone is not – everyone has a head on their shoulders, there are parents, agents who are not stupid people and see the plan for the player. At 18 or 25, everything will depend on you. How many examples when they left at 25 and did not succeed …

– You often talk about your parents. Do their opinions play a big role in your decision making?
– I consult with them, but in the end, the decision is on me. Our parents are older than us, they have seen more. I have a good symbiosis with them – they advise, and I decide.

– After the training camp in Nizhny Novgorod, your future teammates began to clear up?
– It is still difficult to understand something by links. The work at the training camp in Nizhny Novgorod was aimed at establishing a base on the ground and on the ice.

– Do you feel that you are in a top club with a great history?
– Moscow “Dynamo” has always been well known. In terms of organization, everything here is excellent. Everyone is focused on the same result and work very well together.

HC “Dynamo” (Moscow)


– Do you have any hobbies?
– It is difficult when you have so many games and only want to relax in your free time. But I like to travel whenever possible. In the last couple of years, of course, there was not much of it. In America, in the evenings, I talked with my relatives, read books, watched films.

– But this time gave us the opportunity to visit those places where we would not go just like that …

That’s for sure. When the borders were closed, I took a ride around Belarus. It’s interesting to learn something new. A year before the pandemic, he spent three weeks in London. I am not a sea person – I can come and swim only once. That’s why I choose Europe. There are so many museums, stadiums in London, and I love football. Went to the English Channel. Every day we had a program, the route was broken right by points. The walks were long but very exciting. I will definitely come back.

Who do you root for in football?
– I have a team in every league that I sympathize with. In English – “Chelsea”, in German “Bayern”, in Spanish “Barcelona”. France? I used to like Marseille, but now I don’t watch the French league much. I know all the news, I communicate with Belarusian football players. We had a football boom in Brest a couple of years ago, Maradona came. They invested good finances in the club, there were different activities – artists came, arranged competitions. 11-12 thousand fans came to Dynamo Brest, which is very cool. Artem Milevsky came, other guys with experience. Even then they became champions, and the whole city was repainted in the colors of the club, the procession was very atmospheric. With the onset of the pandemic, problems began, the hype subsided. But I still like to follow them and other sports – tennis, motorsport.

– Figure skating?
– Not mine! (laughs).

– Gymnastics?
– I have a dislike for gymnastics! When I was a child, my parents brought me and my brother. But when they started to pull… Everything hurts, but no one cares – it’s difficult. I ran away earlier than my brother. He still held on! I had no one to leave with, and I came to his training to watch. And I knew how jealous he was of me! I’m sitting, and they pull him!

– What books do you like?
– Classic literature. My favorite book is Shantaram. I read it in two days, it captivated me so much. Now I am reading The Lost Café at the Schindlers – recently I was with Kirill Gotovets in a bookstore, and I decided to buy this book. I love 1984 by Orwell, Remarque, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Bradbury. At school, a literature teacher told me to read books instead of assignments, so I read. Now in the bookstore it is difficult to pick up something new from the classics, especially Russian ones.

– What films do you prefer?
– I recommend the film “Good Will Hunting” to everyone. “The scent of a woman” is also good. I like movies where if you miss five minutes, you have to watch it again. The kind that make you think. But horror and fantasy are not my thing. Marvel, “Transformers” can not watch. I tried, but after 20 minutes I leave the cinema.

Source: Sovsport

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