Dinamo Minsk experienced a cultural overhaul in the 2020-2021 season, and not even a pandemic would derail the club’s efforts toward expansion. Under head coach Craig Woodcroft, a spotlight was shone on young Belarusian talents brought home from abroad, ballasted by imports with some serious KHL mileage. Defenseman Vladislav Yeryomenko, 22, was one such local youngster who witnessed the drastic change in fortune, which catapulted Minsk from one of their worst showings to playoff position in a matter of one season.
“Craig believes that the best conditions have to be created for our team,” Yeryomenko described over Zoom, as the team prepared for the preseason Salei Cup. “We, in our turn, have to do our job, do our best on the ice, and successfully fulfill the coach’s tasks. Even in a practical sense, in everyday life, Craig loves order in everything. He wants to see all of us committed to work, focused, and doesn’t want anyone to be distracted.”
A 2018 draft pick for the Nashville Predators, Yeryomenko was no stranger to the aggressive, North American style of Woodcroft’s regime. He spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Calgary Hitmen, opting to sign with his home club of Dinamo Minsk in August 2019. We caught up from Belarus to discuss Yeryomenko’s experience within the organization he once rooted for as a kid.
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