2015-16 Sher-wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week Q&A
Mikhail Stefanovich – December 7-13
ECHL: Prior to this season, the last time you played in the ECHL was in 2010-11 with the Reading Royals, having spent the last few seasons playing overseas. What are the biggest differences in style of play that you experienced between the two?
Mikhail Stefanovich: The biggest difference between the two is the size of the rink. Because the rink is wider, teams tend to play more defensive in Europe versus North America, so it means less shots per game and therefore fewer goals. Here, because the rink is tighter, you play more physically, which leads to more offense, more shots, more goals.
ECHL: You’ve had the opportunity to play with many different clubs in many different locations. What has been your favorite city to play in thus far in your career?
MS: Every city is different. It’s hard for me to choose "the best", but I have enjoyed each one.
ECHL: You hail all the way from Belarus. How often do you get to go back home? Do your family and friends make it to visit you in the US?
MS: I won’t go back home during a season. It is way too far to go back, even for Christmas break. It’s tough for my friends to get an American visa and come over, and either way most of them are hockey players themselves. My family doesn’t come out either: I have a 12 year-old sister that’s still in school and my dad is a hockey coach, so it’s tough for them to get time to come out.
ECHL: This weekend you became only the 10th ECHL player in the last 19 season to record consecutive hat tricks. To what do you credit such a successful week of play with the Rush?
MS: I actually hadn’t scored for six games prior to that, so I was kind of nervous and tried to find any hole in the net that I could. My teammates did a really good job passing and setting up some great plays to help me score two straight hat – tricks.
Q5: Looking back on your career to this point, what has been your proudest ‘hockey moment’ so far?
A5: I’d have to say it was the first goal I ever scored in the World Championships. It was in 2010 in Germany and we were playing Kazakhstan. I scored to tie the game at 2-2, and we ultimately won 5-2.