We had the opportunity to catch up with Peterborough DALROD Phantoms Head Player-Coach Slava Koulikov earlier this week. Take a look at what he had to say about the off-season, player movement, next season and Wimbledon:

How is your off-season going? What do you do when there is no hockey?
Off-season is going well but busy! Lots of phone calls, lots of planning for next years campaign, players, preseason and equipment. In addition, I also need to look after my business, set new goals for summer, try to make time up we was apart in the season with my family, catch up with friends, stay in shape and try to watch World Cup and Wimbledon when I can!

What are the challenges of having to build a hockey team?
First, you need to review past season and identify what worked what didn’t and how to make team better. Second, get quality British players, finally you need try to and finalise your roster with imports that can be leaders on this team! It’s not easy because you don’t have budgets like top six or seven teams in the league. With that said, our owners have been very supportive in helping me to put team together that can compete in every game!

This off-season saw the departure of imports Erik Piatak and Marcel Petran. How hard is it to see two of the teams stop scorers leave?
It’s not easy but we have to make decisions in the best interest of the team as a whole while keeping in mind that players have to make their own way as well. Marcel and Erik both had highlight seasons as individuals but the TEAM as a whole didn’t do well. The team budget hasn’t changed from last year, so I decided to spread the money, bring better British players in order to make our team stronger overall. With this in mind, Erik and Marcel were aware after last season what kind of contracts we would be positioned to offer them for this season. They chose to go to other teams. I want wish them success and we will try to do our best to get players that can fill they skates.

The team will have a lot of new and returning faces for next season. What will this team need to do in order to be successful for the 2014-15 campaigns?
First of all, we all have to come in at top physical shape so we can stay injury free and not waste additional time on training . From there we will need a good preseason schedule so it gives us time to bond and buy into what we want to achieve. All of this will be a good foundation to be successful for the season ahead – then the main work will start!

What is the toughest part of being a player-coach?
One of toughest part of been player-coach is to make right decisions at the right time thru out the game, really see what’s happening and help change the outcome of the game even when team not playing well!

Bonus: Who do you think will win Wimbledon?
Roger Federer 🙂