This mid-season Ilya Bryzgalov became the NHL’s highest paid goal-tender, when he joined the Philadelphia Flyers. The Russian is currently on holiday but the 31-year-old still found time to pass on his skills to a new generation of net-minders.
It is not very often that you get to see Ilya Bryzgalov in Russia. And this is unlikely to change in the near future, after he signed a nine-year, 51-million-dollar contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The pressure will certainly be on the Russian but he says he will be up to the task.
At 31, Bryzgalov should be entering his prime. He has no intention of hanging up his skates for the moment, though he does have one eye on the future.
The Flyers’ net-minder set up a goal-tending summer camp for budding youngsters in Moscow and his home town of Tolyatti, and Bryzgalov says this is something he would like to continue when he eventually retires.
The next generation of goal-tenders grabbed the chance to learn the tricks of the trade from one of the world’s best.
Maksim, 15, had travelled 250 kilometres from his home city of Yaroslavl to take part in the coaching clinic. He hopes one day to make it into the big league himself.
When it comes to coaching, Bryzgalov has endless enthusiasm and is willing to spend hours passing on his secrets to those who are interested.
Unlike in North America, the concept of coaching clinics given by professionals at the peak of their powers is still relatively new in Russia, and that is something the Philadelphia net-minder definitely wants to change.
The event proved to be a fantastic experience for the youngsters, who had the chance to be coached by one of their heroes. As for Bryzgalov, who got just as much enjoyment out of the day, he will have a few more weeks back home before heading off back to America to open a new chapter in his hockey career.