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Viktor Tikhonov's Blog: Becoming a Coyote

Viktor Tikhonov had 12 points in 43 games in the Russian League last season. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

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Viktor Tikhonov had 12 points in 43 games in the Russian League last season. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

BY VIKTOR TIKHONOV

Hey everybody, welcome to the first installment of my blog.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes and a lot has happened since then, but I thought I’d start off by sharing some of my experiences in Ottawa that weekend.

I got into town on the Thursday with my family and since one of our suitcases was lost at the airport, we had to do some shopping. Other than that, I spent some time hanging out with fellow Russian prospect Nikita Filatov, who ended up going sixth overall to Columbus. Leading up to the actual draft I did some interviews, but mostly I spent time with my family.

My agent told me there was a chance I would be drafted in the first round, so I went into Friday hoping for the best and Phoenix took me 28th overall. A lot went through my head when I heard my name called: happiness, adrenaline – so many things.

After you put the jersey on and go up on stage, it’s just the beginning. There’s an interview with your new team (for me it was with Darren Pang), then you pose for 20-30 pictures and get your own media scrum.

Once that was finished, I headed off to the Phoenix Coyotes’ team suite. The room was packed. All the scouts, GM Don Maloney, fellow first-rounder Mikkel Boedker; everyone was in there.

When the first round was finished, I stuck around a bit longer and went back on stage to take pictures with family and friends. I even have a shot of me pointing to my name on the big board. It was pretty cool.

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On the heels of the draft, I flew back to my home in California for about half a day before jetting to Phoenix for the team’s prospect camp.

The camp was a big one – there were 25 of us there, including Kyle Turris, Boedker and two former Michigan Wolverines who I ended up playing on a line with: Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter.

Coming from the Russian League, I had to get used to how practices are set up in North America. In Russia, we would have a drill explained to us, we would do the drill, then stop and have the next one explained. Over here, all the drills are explained beforehand and it’s non-stop skating once you hit the ice. It’s very fast-paced.

We also had some very interesting nutrition courses. The prospects were broken up into groups by weight, since your size affects what your body needs. We learned about the important roles carbohydrates and proteins play, how to properly lose or gain weight and the affects of alcohol on your fitness. All in all, it was a great learning experience.

For the rest of the summer, I will be working out in the mornings and golfing in the afternoons back in California. I hope to start training with some current and former San Jose Sharks soon. Until then, thanks for reading!

Viktor Tikhonov is a 20-year-old right winger who was drafted 28th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2008 draft. Last year, he played in the Russian Super League (now the Kontinental League) for Severstal and is the grandson of legendary coach Viktor Tikhonov.

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