Ilya Kovalchuk: biography
The famous hockey player Ilya Kovalchuk was born in Tver on April 15, 1983. The boy's father, Valeriy Nikolayevich Kovalchuk, worked as a basketball coach, and later headed the sport's school at the Spartak Olympic reserve. The mother of Ilya, Lyubov Nikolaevna, was far from sports. She was in charge of the district polyclinic. The name of the boy was given to him in honor of the famous hero Ilya Muromets. The parents hoped that the child will grow as strong and healthy, and Ilya fully met their hopes.
His father, being an athlete, had a choice between hockey and basketball, and at last sent his son to play hockey. From the age of four Ilya attended gym, where he played active games, was engaged in general physical training. At the age of five his father sent his son to the hockey section of his friend, the coach Viktor Zhukov. Valery Nikolayevich actively participated in the training process, training Ilya in his spare time. He regularly took the boy to hockey matches in Moscow. Thanks to the studies with his father the famous "wrist" blow was mastered, which became Kovalchuk's distinguishing feature. And a year later, Ilya was the best player in the section.
Until the 5th grade, Ilya Kovalchuk studied in an ordinary school, and then his father transferred him to a sports school. From the age of 15 he had already studied at the Moscow school of the Olympic reserve. During his studies, Kovalchuk took an active part in various tournaments and played at All-Russian competitions as a part of various teams of Tver. Ilya exceled at the tournament in 1993, when he scored 33 goals, he was taken to the Moscow "Dynamo". In 1994, as part of the children's team Spartak at the competition in Minnesota (USA), Kovalchuk was recognized as the top player. In tournament abroad, he scored 22 goals.
Career of Ilya Kovalchuk
Kovalchuk's sports career is developing rapidly. At the age of 16, Ilya signed his first professional contract with Moscow "Spartak". He got not in the youth team, but immediately in the adult team. The hockey player Kovalchuk becomes the youngest player in the Russian Hockey League, and in 2000, participating for the team in the Challenge Cup in Canada for hockey players under 17 he becomes the best player of this championship. Now his stick took its place of honor in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
In the same 2000 year, the athlete wins silver in the junior team. In 2001 the team was able to win gold medals, and Ilya gets the title of the best striker in the tournament. At the same time, the young hockey player made his debut in adult hockey. "Spartacus", for which he has been playing for two seasons, gets in the Premier League. The player was noticed by representatives of the NHL, he begins to play for the Atlanta Thrashers club. It is noteworthy that in the draft of the newcomers of the American team in 2001, he was given the first number.
In 2002 at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Kovalchuk, playing for the Russian national team, receives bronze medals and the title of Honored Master of Sports. And in 2003 the hockey player is already participating in world championships for the national team and at the same time studies at the Academy physical training according on individual program.
In 2004 the Russian player becomes the best player of the league. For his good game, he receives the prize "Maurice Richard Trophy". Also in 2004, Kovalchuk was recognized as the best representative of Russia in the NHL. As a part of Atlanta the forward showed the most effective game. In the 2005/2006 season Kovalchuk managed to score 98 points (52 + 46) on the "goal + pass" system. For several seasons, the Russian striker remained stable at the leading positions in the rating of the best scorers of the NHL, and his statistics was one of the most productive in the league.
The fans of the Russian team especially remember the World Cup in 2008, which was held in Canada. On the ice arenas of Quebec and Halifax, the Russian team showed the best result, and thanks to the Hockey puck, which Kovalchuk scored in the final match, the team won gold. In the film “Champions” the directors decided to show how the famous hockey player overcame a series of failures, having thrown the winning puck into the Canadians' gate.
In 2010 Ilya Kovalchuk signed a contract for 15 years with the hockey club "New Jersey Devils". The cost of this agreement with the American team was $ 100 million. It would seem that America for a long time had to become a native for Ilya, but this did not happen. The Russian forward played for the "Devils" (the nickname "New Jersey Devils") for only three seasons and unexpectedly for many people, announced his decision to leave the American club, and returned to his homeland.
This event literally shocked the community of the world hockey. The fans tried to find out what caused this decision. In the summer of 2013, Ilya began to play for St. Petersburg SKA. The agreement with the Russian club was signed for four years.
Already famous in Russia hockey player Kovalchuk noticed his future wife when he saw a video clip of the music band "Mirage". The effective blonde, the soloist of the group "Mirage" Nicole Ambrazaitis immediately attracted his attention, and he decided that he would definitely meet her. The first date Ilya and Nicole spent at the cafe. The girl liked the player immediately. She appreciated his self-confidence combined with good upbringing and modesty. The couple decided to get married only after 7 years.
Five years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Karolina, and when she was 2.5 years old, Ilya Kovalchuk and Nicole had a wedding. The ceremony of marriage took place on August 17, 2007. The wedding celebration was held in Moscow, and then in Tver, where Ilya had a lot of friends. A year later the couple had a ceremony in church. The ceremony took place in the Novodevichy Convent.
In 2009 the son Philip was born to the hockey player's family. And a year later the second son Artem was born. When in 2010 Kovalchuk signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils, his wife and children moved to America to be closer to her husband and father. Nicole for the sake of her husband's career abandoned plans to become a singer and devoted entirely to raising children. In January 2014, their daughter Eve was born.
Olympics in Sochi
Ilya Kovalchuk thinks the 2014 Winter Olympics to be the main event in his professional career. Fans expected the Russian national team to win, but this didn’t happened. The 5th place in Sochi is a total failure for the Russian national team. In many ways, such negative results are attributed to Kovalchuk's failure, since Ilya injured his knee in the match against the Slovak national team.
Kovalchuk in the national team: lost leadership
In 2015 at the World Championship in the Czech Republic, the famous striker successfully acted as a captain of the Russian national team. Thanks to his efforts, the Russians took the second place in the tournament. It would seem that, as before, the idol of millions can lead the team to new victories, but such an assumption turned out to be erroneous.
In 2016 Ilya Kovalchuk did not get into the application for the home world championship. The coaching staff, having analyzed the game of the legendary hockey player, decided not to invite him to the national team. In December 2015, the team led by Kovalchuk took the fourth place in the Cup of the First Channel, and the forward was noted for his uncertain game and goal double in the gate of Finland. His merits in the world championship in the Czech Republic was not appreciated, as the striker began to lose form, and in the matches for St. Petersburg SKA "Covey" (nickname of Kovalchuk) often did not score points.
With the coach of the Russian national team Oleg Znarok there were no disagreements, many explained this situation by the simple logic of selecting candidates for the national team. The lack of playing practice in the crucial matches of the KHL is the main reason why Ilya was not given the opportunity to play for the national hockey team.
According to the American media, during the games in the National Hockey League, Ilya had conflicts. Bob Hartley, who headed the Thrashers, repeatedly stated that the forward is in no hurry to return to the defense, and also does not help the defenders. Sometimes the Canadian coach tried to influence Kovalchuk by a sharp decrease in playing time, but still there were no significant incidents of this kind in the career of the great hockey player.