International Ice Hockey Federation

Teenage hockey nomad

Teenage hockey nomad

Dmytro Timashov’s long way from Ukraine to Helsinki

Published 26.12.2015 12:57 GMT+2 | Author Risto Pakarinen
Teenage hockey nomad
Dmytro Timashow will play his first IIHF tournament in Helsinki. On the photo he was with the U18 national team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. Photo: Werner Krainbucher
Dmytro Timashov is working on his fifth language, French, and it’s not going as well as he’d like to. But hockey's going great.

Dmytro Timashov is working on his fifth language, French, and it’s not going as well as he’d like to, but he’s determined to learn it. After all, he lives in Quebec City and plays for the Remparts in the QMJHL. Now, he’s not there to learn French, but to play hockey, and that part’s going as planned.

“The team wants all players to go to school so I take French lessons now. But it’s tough,” he told the media at Sweden’s pre-WJC media availability.

Last season, Timashov was voted both QMJHL offensive rookie of the year and rookie of the year when he scored 90 points in 66 games and led all rookies in assists. This season, he’s already scored 53 points in 29 games, and, with 18 goals, is just one shy of his last season’s total of 19, a logic result of his decision to simply shoot more, he says.

“I’ve always liked passing, and thought that it’s even nicer to be the playmaker to a nice goal than to score it myself, and it’s just always been like that,” he says.

“Of course I like to score goals, but my natural instinct is to pass.”

Last summer, the message he heard from NHL scouts was that he’d have to shoot more, and that became his focus entering this season. It’s a transition that is easier said than done, Timashov admits, and takes a lot of mental effort to reprogram the brain.

But Timashov is used to changes. Born in Ukraine, he was just one year old when his parents divorced and seven when he moved to Sollentuna, Sweden - home of Mats Sundin and Patric Hörnqvist - when his mother Inna got a new job there. And then a new husband who surprised Dmytro on his eighth birthday with a present that caught the youngster by surprise.


For Dmytro, who also played football and wrestled, sports that are more common in Ukraine, skating was a whole new experience but one that got a hold on him. He spent hours on the local outdoor rink, skating around, and when the local hockey team’s down at the rink started to recognize the kid, they asked him to join the club.

“When I started hockey, I was the worst player on the team and I couldn’t speak Swedish, so it was a little tough, but I was also so young that I picked up the language fairly quickly,” says Timashov who speaks Swedish, Russian, English, understands Ukrainian, and now a little French.

He also picked up hockey skills so quickly that he wasn’t the worst player on the team for long. His stepfather had an eye for talent and could tell that Dmytro had it. A couple of years later, he joined another team, and when he was 15, he scored 19 points in eight games in the Swedish TV-pucken, the big talent show of district teams.

He attended the hockey high school in Stockholm, played for Djurgarden, then moved to the famous MODO Ornskoldsvik system so he could move out from his childhood home and take more responsibility of his life.

“And to become a more mature player,” he says.

“I’m a fairly independent and self-motivated person so it wasn’t a hard decision to take. I could cook for myself and all that,” he adds, with a laugh, and says he eats a lot of chicken, salmon, and potatoes.

In Quebec, he lived with a billet family the first few months to learn about the Canadian way of life, but has since moved into an apartment of his own, and his maturing process shows no signs of slowing down.

Last summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Timashov in the fifth round, 125th overall, and signed an entry level contract with them. Timashov can turn out to be an important piece in the rebuilding club’s puzzle. The Leafs’ director of player personnel, Mark Hunter, said recently that he thinks Timashov could be “the sleeper of the bunch that surprises a lot of people.”

The Leafs’ current leading scorer is a player who has surprised a lot of people, who speaks several languages fluently, who’s father is Russian, but who doesn’t represent Russia: Finland’s Leo Komarov. However, Timashov is years ahead of Komarov in development, which is good news for Toronto.

Timashov says he has a “good dialogue” with the big club which could mean that he ends his season with the Marlies in the AHL.

But first, the World Juniors.

“Sweden always enters the tournament to win it. It’s a dream come true, I remember watching [Mika] Zibanejad and the guys win it a few years ago. It was fantastic,” he says.

Zibanejad – who speaks Swedish, Finnish, Farsi, and English – scored the OT game winner against Russia in 2012. Maybe Timashov can score the game winner this year. Or, even better, make the play that leads to the gold medal winning.


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