By Kai I.
Tampa–Dmitry Afanasenkov is a former NHL player who was born in Russia in 1980. He played in the NHL for 13 years.
Dmitry started playing hockey after his parents put him in gymnastics. He hated gymnastics! The building he went to do gymnastics was also an ice hockey arena. He told his parents that he wanted to try hockey. He loved hockey so decided to pursue the sport.
He originally played as goalie but soon decided to play forward. Forward is a term also meaning offense. Dmitry played forward the rest of his career.
Dmitry was playing for the Tampa Bay lightning when the team won the Stanley cup in 2004. During game 7 in the Stanley cup playoffs, he just tried to focus on the game, he didn’t let the pressure get to his head. He had to treat it like a normal game.
After retiring from his career as a hockey player, he decided to become a hockey coach. He describes it as a great experience. He coaches the Jr Lightning, plant high school and the Lightning training camp.
Hockey is a very popular sport in Russia. In fact, Russia doesn’t have football or soccer. They also, have a version of hockey called Russian ice hockey. This is the KHL which is the Kontinental Hockey League. What’s interesting about Russian hockey is that it is played with balls and on a football field.
On game 7 in 2004 when The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley cup, Dmitry says that he was excited but also very nervous before game 7 In fact, he was “nervous before every game”.
Dmitry played a little gymnastics as a kid but mostly played hockey. In the summer when there wasn’t any ice to play on, he didn’t quit. That was when he practiced. Their team played street hockey in the summer against themselves to train.
When asked if there was anything Dmitry didn’t like about the NHL he said “no”. What he does love though is traveling. He gets travel to different places as a job.
Dmitry is also a big fan of hockey to this day. When Interviewed, on the night of game 7 in 2020, Dmitry was asked if the lightning will win the Stanley cup again and he said probably but we will have to see. They did win that night.
He thinks that the kids he coaches could make it to the NHL. He says that it all depends on if they are willing to play. He also says that you have to work hard, you can’t be lazy and and it all depends on “how bad you want it”.