- Tell me, is it cool to win Stanley Cup in such a young age?
- Everyone will say yes. But I cannot answer as I still have to wrap my head around this event. It has just happened as in a fantastic movie. We beat "Columbus" in the first round, "Boston" in the second, "New York Islanders" in the third and won the final against "Dallas".
Many guys from our team had overcome various problems on the way to the Cup so at some moments I was finding myself thinking that I’m happy for them more than for my own victory.
- And how many bottles of Russian Vodka can the Silver Cup hold? You had the real fun there after all.
- We didn’t pour vodka but it holds about 6 bottles of Champaign if you take 0,5l bottles.
I think these days no one count litres and beverages poured in the Cup (smiles). I remember there was “Stanley Cup Champions” sort of beer which was made specially for such a case. But as you could see not only we drunk from the Cup but some people just emotionally poured all the content on themselves. These emotions will be remembered for the long time, for sure.
- Why have you decided to establish your personal brand right after the great victory?
- I’ve already made my mind in the spring, during the lockdown as I started to shoot sketches in Instagram. As an example, there was a 3-minute video of me as Harry Potter receiving a letter inviting to return to the NHL. And we filmed that for the whole month. We needed to buy different Hogwarts costumes, to change plans, to edit and assemble.
So I’ve decided that it’s time to establish my own brand, to produce merch. I even wanted to organise a training camp for children but put in on hold because of the pandemic. In the distant future, for example, in my native Nizhnekamsk I could open my own sports centre with hockey fields, tennis, volleyball, basketball courts, a small hotel. I could hold tournaments and various events there. Personal brands are very trendy in the NBA. And if people hear about Mikhail Sergachev I want them to think not only about the hockey.
- Haven’t you conquered TikTok yet? And can you imagine that you could earn more on videos than on your NHL contract?
- Oh, come on, that will never happen. And the thing is not in the NHL salaries but in the fact that I’m not an actor after all. And to be an actor is a really hard work, much harder than people usually think. I watch Lapenko – he works day and night! He plays all the roles at the same time. I could never do that. And that’s really funny. And TikTok wouldn’t go just because singing and dancing is not my thing (smiles).
- You’re the first hockey player in the Tatarstan history to win Stanley Cup. How are you going to get the Cup there?
- It’s still on the hold. Because of the pandemic it’s forbidden to take the Cup even out of Florida. But if everything works out, I have the following plans: I’ll bring the Stanley Cup to the hockey school in Nizhnekamsk, where I came from. I’ll put it somewhere, people will take pictures and I’ll give out autographs somewhere nearby. And when we stay with the bowl in the family, we will do something unusual. For example, we could eat chak-chak from it. As an option!
- Is that true that all NHL-players have their own dress code, and you have to spend thousands of dollars on clothing?
- The trendiest one in our team is defenceman Victor Hedman. He has really cool hockey suits. If you get them hand-tailored then it’s quite pricy. Once we flew to Montreal, and my teammate Alex Killorn presented a master who tailors him. He took our measures, made shirts and four or five suits. I can't say about myself, but on average one good suit of an NHL player costs a couple of thousand dollars.
- Is it true that each NHL team has its own nutritionist who’s monitoring the weight of all players?
- Not really. Our strength and conditioning coach is actually our nutritionist. But we know ourselves that all high-fat food as French fries is forbidden before a game. What you need is slow carbs, protein, fiber. Pasta, chicken and salad suit perfectly. And if I’ll eat a pack of chak-chak (Tatarstan's national sweet) before a game I’ll feel really slow and heavy.
- Isn’t it boring to live almost the whole year in Florida near the beach?
- I’ve been playing for Lightning for 3 years and I’ve been to the beach about 5 times for all this time. I’ve bought a water scooter so I race in the ocean. But it takes me 40 minutes to get there and there is no shower on the beach. And I don’t like getting in the car being all covered with sand.
But Florida is fun, actually. Giant crocodiles walk on the golf course. They live in the bay, which passes through the centre of Tampa. Dolphins dive there, sometimes you can see sharks. Once a girl from TV was shooting a story about how she swam on the board, and a two-meter crocodile passed by. That was quite a thing.