Tatiana Shchukina is a very unusual 22 years old Russian hockey goalie. At the beginning of our conversation, she told me her English wasn’t good, but she was willing to talk to me in any way. She’d wanted to share her hockey story, and wrote it in a mildly humorous vein, revealing her witty character. Shchukina is someone who’s not afraid of the obstacles that come her way. She’s determined to be on the path to success.
Her friends love her for being a good and loyal friend. They like her honesty and her sense of humor. She is not afraid to tell her opinion when she finds it appropriate, and vice versa. She is not a loud person and does not like to stand out in a company, but if you need her advice, she will be happy to help you.
Besides hockey, Shchukina’s doing tourism studies at the Russian International Tourism Academy, preparing these days for the final exam. When she has it completed, she’ll continue to play hockey and travel around the world. In her free time, Tatiana likes reading, art, pets and all amusing activities.
VOLLEYBALL, ARABIAN DANCING AND ICE HOCKEY
I was born in 1995 in Podolsk, an industrial city in the Moscow region, 37 km away from the Russian capital. Since I was a child, I always played sports. Growing up, I was involved in different sport activities. I’ve played volleyball for a school team and I’ve done Arabian dancing. At the age of 13, my father suggested me to try something more exciting, and took me to the ice rink. I loved the atmosphere there, and started playing ice hockey on a local team.
At the start I was a player. But, one day my coach offered me the position to play goalie. It looked difficult to me, but I decided to give it a try. My parents positively reacted, though they were not sure how serious my decision was. I proved them wrong, and here I am, standing in front of a net,one year by another. My father is still supporting me. After all these years, I am very happy whenever I see him on the stands.
WINNING THE RUSSIAN HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
After practicing and playing with boys in my birth town, I felt the need to make a change in my life, and decided to move to another town. I wasn’t sorry for leaving, because I was looking ahead to the future. I moved to Odintsovo, also in the Moscow region, and start playing for the girls’ team Atlant Mytishchi. There I spent 3 amazing seasons.
But, one day I got an invitation to play in WHL, (the most prestigious Russian women’s hockey league), for the professional HC Tornado Dmitrov. It was a great honor for me, because it was the best and most titled women’s hockey team in Russia. I played on the Tornado team for 4 seasons. We competed in finals a few years in a row, and won the Russian Championship 3 times. We also won the European Champions Cup.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IN A YOUNGER TEAM
After 4 seasons playing in the WHC, I wanted to play in a weaker team. I needed again a new challenge and I saw this as an opportunity to play in a newer, younger team. So I moved to HC Dinamo from Kursk, a city 500 km south from Moscow. I felt great there and we were a good team, but because of financial problems, we couldn’t participate in the Women’s Hockey League. I was not satisfied with this and decided to move to HC Dinamo from St. Petersburg. I played there in the 2016-2017 season and we won a bronze medal in the WHL.
WE ARE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING OUR GAME
Now I play on team SKSO Yekaterinburg of the Sverdlovsk region. Even though our team didn’t play well in the previous season, we have not lost hope. We are trying our best and continuously improving our game. We want to be able to play one day in the WHL, against other strong women’s teams.
I also had an opportunity to represent Russia at the U18 World Championship in Finland and at some other international tournaments. I am very proud of myself for being able to wear a national team jersey.
I WAS IMPRESSED BY CANADIAN NATURE
Each sport involves a lot of travel. Through hockey, I’ve been able to travel widely, and visit many beautiful countries, like Canada, Finland, Austria and others. I’ve liked them all, but Canada left the best impression on me. I liked their mountains and forests, and how large, modern cities can live together with nature.
HOCKEY IS MORE THAN JUST A GAME
Hockey holds a special place in my life. I consider myself as a very happy person because of hockey. Ice hockey is more than just a game. It’s travels, having an opportunity to meet new and interesting people, revealing new cultures and ways of life. In general, sports take a lot of space in the people’s lives. Sports are not just a physical activity, they are fashion, excitement, marketing, passion and an excellent platform for life development and career building. If I didn’t become a hockey player, maybe I would be a professional dancer or find myself in blogging. Who knows?
HOCKEY IS JUST 10% TALENT, AND 90% HARD WORKING
At the end of my story, I can only tell to younger players to try today to be better than yesterday. And, of course, love what you do. This is the recipe for hockey success. Listen to your coach and do whatever he tells you to. Don’t forget, hockey is 10% talent and 90% hard working.