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Evgeny Nezhmetdinov

From VHLWiki, the VHL encyclopedia



Evgeny Nezhmetdinov


Evgeny Vasilievich Nezhmetdinov (Russian: Евге́ний Васильевич Нежметдинов, Kazakh: Евгений Васильевич Нежметдинов) is a Kazakh ice hockey player of Tatar heritage. A flashy winger, he can play on the right or the left, and has a penchant for the unpredictable. He is currently an unsigned prospect who is widely believed to be headed for the VHLM.


  1.  Childhood in Aktobe
  2. Astana & Junior Hockey
  3. College & Minor League Hockey
  4. Awards
  5. The Cucumber Incident


Childhood in Aktobe
Nezhmetdinov was born in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, to a Russian-Kazakh father and Tatar mother. As a boy he exhibited an interest in the outdoors, as well as chess and checkers. His father, an amateur chess player and a prominent lawyer in Aktobe, was the primary influence over the young Evgeny. Together they would travel to the countryside, go hiking or bird-watching, and, in the winter, they would skate upon the frozen lakes. It was from his father that Evgeny first learned how to play chess, and for his seventh birthday, received his very first chess set. A year later he was presented with a book of the games of Alexandr Alekhine, and within a matter of months he won his first game against his father. From his mother he learned the Tatar language, one of four he can speak today.



Nezhmetdinov competing in a junior tournament in Astana, aged 10.


At the age of 10, Nezhmetdinov travelled to the Kazakh capital, Astana, to compete in a junior chess competition. He performed admirably, scoring five and half out of eight, and tying for fourth place overall. His sole loss in the tournament came against the eventual winner, future Women’s Grandmaster Dinara Saduakassova. Little over a year later, he and his family returned to Astana, as the Nezhmetdinovs moved permanently to the capital to facilitate the furthering of Evgeny’s father’s career. This was the first period of great change in the young boy’s life, and one that would benefit him in years to come.

Astana & Junior Hockey
In Astana he continued his interest in chess, competing regularly in junior tournaments around the city. He excelled in school, most notably in language studies, and by this time was fluent in both Kazakh and Tatar (owing to his mother’s fluency). In addition, he also studied Russian, and the literary works of great Russian authors like Pushkin, Chekhov, and Gogol (and in future years Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Bulgakov). More notably, it was in Astana that he first began to develop an interest in ice hockey.[*]


At the age of twelve, he tried out for his school's junior hockey team, and soon became a core aspect of the team's play. Though he struggled with the physical and defensive aspects of the game (owing to his diminutive stature), he was a quick and agile youth, and his athleticism proved a great asset on the ice, and on offence. His love for the sport grew quickly, and the coming years saw him spend less time sat before a chess board, and more time spent honing his skating and puck-handling skills.

Everything was not rainbows and sunshine for the youngster, however. A year after becoming a hockey player, his mother was involved in a fatal car crash, and his ability to read and converse in Tatar suddenly became more than just an ability; it was now a memento of his mother's existence, of his own heritage, and—in many ways—a memento mori. Though still just a teenager, Nezhmetdinov realised for the first time that life could be taken away at any moment. He had already coped with being uprooted from his childhood home when his family moved to the capital; now he had to cope with the loss of his mother. Life is fleeting, and precious, and Nezhmetdinov resolved to cherish life and all its pleasures, and dedicated himself to his love of ice hockey.

The loss of his mother also saw Evgeny draw even closer to his father, who had always been a key figure in the youth's life. Now he began to share in his father’s love of classical music, and together they frequented the city’s national concert hall, witnessing performances of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Stravinsky. In return, his father took him to watch his very first ice hockey game (between Barys Astana and HC Almaty), and thus the pair began to attend Barys’ home games on a regular basis.

As his abilities continued to improve, Nezhmetdinov found himself under the watchful eye of scouts from the junior leagues, and at the age of fifteen he was recruited by an affiliate of Barys. Playing on the right wing, and occasionally on the left, Nezhmetdinov’s speed became a great asset to the hockey club, and he was part of a junior side that won back-to-back Kazakh titles. In particular, Nezhmetdinov played a key role in the second of these runs, scoring an audacious penalty shot in the semi-finals (a cheeky drag-and-chip goal), and netting the overtime winner that clinched the cup. He lead his team in points throughout the season, and contributed much on offence. When asked about his defensive abilities, however, one of his coaches quipped that Nezhmetdinov “couldn’t kill a moth, let alone a penalty.”



Nezhmetdinov in action in a shootout.


Unfortunately, Nezhmetdinov suffered a bizarre injury ahead of the following season (tripping over an over-grown cucumber), causing him to miss much of the regular season with a broken ankle. He returned for the latter half of the season, however, performing well enough to earn a contract with Snezhnye Barsy.

College & Minor League Hockey
After graduating from high school, Nezhmetdinov moved on to college, and spent three years studying at Nazarbayev University. By the time he finished school he was already fluent in three languages, and had begun to learn a fourth: English. This proficiency with languages set him in good stead for his new course, and at the end of three years he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics.


During this time he also experienced many firsts, including his first girlfriend, and his first arrest, for being drunk and disorderly in public. Nezhmetdinov allegedly tried to claim that a “12 inch hot-and-spicy” pizza was his, and, when the pizza was given to another customer (who had actually ordered it), threatened to expose himself as proof. He then refused to either accept the pizza he had ordered, or to leave the premises. All of this took place in broad daylight, and an image was captured on his girlfriend's phone. He later apologised for the incident, claiming that it was a joke that had gotten out of hand.



Nezhmetdinov being arrested in broad daylight, captured on his girlfriend's phone


On the ice, there were no such controversies. At Barsy Nezhmetdinov benefitted from a higher standard of coaching than he had previously received, and though he struggled with the physical aspects of training, his puck-handling abilities ensured that he was a regular starter for the team. During his three year tenure Barsy won no titles, but the young winger provided plenty of highlight reel moments along the way, drawing the attention of scouts from the KHL, NHL, KHC (Kazakhstan Hockey Championship), and the coveted VHL.

Two Junior Kazakh titles

One Championship Game MVP award

The Cucumber Incident
Prior to entering his final year of high school, Nezhmetdinov and his father attended a vegetable-judging competition in a rural area outside of Aktobe. Nezhmetdinov's uncle (along with other of his relations) is a farmer, and as a hobby grows large vegetables to be judged each year in competition. Whilst observing, Nezhmetdinov tripped over the protruding stalk of an large, overgrown cucumber, fell awkwardly, and broke his ankle. The incident earned him the nickname 'Kiyar' (қияр), meaning 'cucumber' in Kazakh.[*]



[*] Chillin' With the Cucumber (and David Cameron), VHL Forum: http://www.vhlforum.com/index.php?/topic/20756-chillin-with-the-cucumber-and-david-cameron—evgeny-nezhmetdinov/?p=224631

Edited by Alucard
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Overview: 5/5 - This was a very detailed Biography that hit all the major parts of the task. From Evgeny's up bringing to how he became a hockey player and everything in-between. I liked your story telling and how it all flowed as a whole. You even made me crack a few smiles with some of the funny parts. Well done! I am sure your player is going to have a successful career. 
Grammar: 3/3 - Good job! Just some minor things really. Not much else. 
scoring five and half out of eight = scoring five and a half out of eight
athleticism proved a great asset  = athleticism proved to be a great asset (Reads a bit funny)
He lead his team = He led his team
stalk of an large, overgrown cucumber = stalk of a large, overgrown cucumber
Presentation: 1/1 - Really well done. Like that you made it a Wikipedia type layout which is different. One tiny suggestion I would have is to use the center layout, so all the headers and paragraphs are centered. It just looks a bit better than the left sided one. Other than that It looks great.
Over 1000 Words? 1/1 - Yup - Plenty of words.
Overall: 10/10
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