For the 2011/12/13 seasons Iya Gavrilova has been playing for the Calgary Dinos along side Hayley Wickenheiser. Prior to the March 8-11 championship Gavrilova had 27 points in 21 games. She was also named first team Canada West all-star. Gavrilova has played for Team Russia since 2004.
Iya Gavrilova Feb 2011 interview with Elizabeth Etue.
Elizabeth Etue: What did you think of your team’s efforts at the Olympics?
Iya Gavrilova: I think our 6th ranking at the Olympics could have been better if we would have a better training camp before Olympics. Many teams were centralized for the year, compare to our 3 week camp before the Olympics. I think the girls worked really hard and put lots of effort into the games but it's hard to compete against teams who have worked much more and are just physically stronger.
EE: How did you feel about your own play?
IG: I didn't help the team and it tells a lot about my play. I know I should have done a better job but I can't fix it anymore. Just have to look forward and work more, it is the only way I can get better.
EE: What is Russia doing with players like you who are out of the country to train for Olympics? Do they stay in touch?
IG: So far, i am the only player who trains outside of country. I am staying in touch with my national team manager and that’s about it. The Russian federation doesn't really care about its players. For example, they won't pay players airline tickets to go to the national team camps. Club teams in Russia pay for its players tickets. Right now I am talking to them to find out if they will pay my ticket to the camp before the World Championship in April 2011 and I haven't got any emails back. So far I got my ticket paid by the Russian federation twice in my hockey career (one time going back from Vancouver, and one time when I went for World Championship in China).
EE: Is there a new coach for worlds 2011 and if so what is he like?
IG: Same coach. Nothing has changed
EE: How has Russian women’s hockey changed since you started playing?
IG: It definitely got better. The players got faster, more skilled. I think a lot of it has to do with foreign players from USA, Finland and Canada who are coming to play hockey in Russia. Russian players learn a lot from them and it is a positive trend for our hockey.
EE: How does the Russian wms league compare to US college hockey or international hockey?
IG: The Russian league is far behind US college hockey and international hockey. We have 2-3 teams in the league that can challenge each other, the other 3 teams just can't compete at the high level. There are not enough good games for players to get better. The games are slower because there is not enough intensity.
EE: Does Russia have a new plan for wms hockey for 2014 Olympics?
IG: I heard a lot from interviews about our plans, but nothing is set for sure. The Russian Ice Hockey Federation wants to have 2 to 3 months of the national team camps in North America during the summer. Again, I don't really know if it's going to happen for sure. Also, the current coach is planning to have a 6 months camp before the Olympics but it wasn't confirmed.
EE: How has this season been going for you with your Minnesota club team?
IG: I played just a few games with them and it was a lot of fun for me. The team is doing great in the conference; I am looking forward to the play-off games for the Clarkson Cup at the end of March.
EE: What is the calibre of play compared to college hockey in USA?
IG: The games are not as intense as it is in college. Players are more experienced and they play smart. Also, a lot of them don't practice every day due to work or family and they are playing just for fun, so it's hard for them to stay in shape.
EE: Where will you go to school next year in Canada and what will you take?
IG: I am going to grad school at the University of Guelph and taking a post graduate marketing program.
EE: Will you play college hockey?
IG: I will play college hockey in Canada, I still have 3 years of eligibility in Canada. I am very excited and can't wait to play college hockey again.
EE: Is your plan to work in North America? What kind of work interests you the most?
IG: While I am in school, I'll be working as a Teaching Assistant to help pay for my tuition. I don't really know about my future job and what I want to do. My friend in Russia works for the government and he was offering me a job back home. I know if I will have any problems finding job in Russia, in North America it's much harder, especially with current economic conditions.
EE: It is challenging to get information on the Russian game, thanks for answering these questions.
IG: It's not a challenge to get information about games in Russia and about the national team games. Here is a website: http://whockey.ru/ (Note: web site is in Russian but easy to translate)
Email Interview with Elizabeth Etue Sept. 2009
Q. What are you doing differently in your training now for Olympics?
A. Nothing much, we don't even have national team camps and my back issues prevented me do from doing any work outs in August but I am back training now. Everybody from the national team is with their current club teams and they, like usual, do the same workouts each year.
Q. What did you learn at University of Minnesota Duluth that was helpful in terms of playing and training?
A. I have learned that for hockey you need to train mentally and also do different types of workouts in order to get better and stronger. I learned different on ice drills that improved my teamwork. USA college hockey is completely different than Russian hockey so right now I know what kind of training I need to do off the ice and on the ice.
Q. What was the most important influence in your hockey experience and why?
A. The first and the most important influence since I was a kid was my Dad. When I got to play for UMD my coaches were an important influence also.
Q What is your contribution to the national team?
A. I bring a little bit more confidence to the team and training knowledge, I am trying to educate them about training.
Q. What is your national team’s biggest advantage and challenge?
A. The biggest advantage is our ability to move the puck well in the offensive zone. The challenges are defence and coaches. We have never had one coach for a long time; the Russian Federation keeps changing them almost every year.
Q How is this Olympics team different from previous teams?
A. This Olympic team is going to be more young compared to previous years. Right now the coaching staff is building our team for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Q What would you ask your country's fans to do to support the team?
A. At least, try to watch women's hockey and not criticize us.
Q What is your strategy vs Canada and US?
A. In my mind the strategy is to win every micro match for my line. For the team coach does not really give us any strategy...
Q. What is a regular training day for you?
A. First is an on-ice practice, then after a workout, and end with a stretch. I do not have a specific training diet or exercises because our National team coach does not suggest anything, and I do not have the resources for these.
Q. What do you read to inspire you or who inspires you in the hockey world?
A. Sometimes the hockey articles I read or sports I watch on tv, NHL games or national team games inspire me.
Q. What is your motivation to keep working so hard?
A. I Just want to keep playing better because I love this game. I want my team do well against any competition we have.