Russian hockey referee Vyacheslav Bulanov, not allowed to work in the NHL, moved to the Czech Republic, which will serve matches of Extraliga until the end of season 2016/2017. The famous judge in an interview with Radio Prague talked about how he made his transition, the difference between the NHL from Extraliga, and how it met the Czech colleagues, the leadership of the local League and the fans.
— How did You become a judge, how did Your career path?
— Everything is quite simple, really. After the Junior team of CSKA could not pass on. This was due to injury and studies at the Institute. Then I decided to try refereeing, and I liked it. It all started 27 years ago, so today I work as a judge longer than you’ve played.
You caught another dakhovskii times. Have You encountered situations in which the judges exerted pressure?
— In the 2000s this was the place to be, however, more often in the lower leagues. Sponsors of clubs tried to influence some judges to have their club won. And threatened, and to give bribes tried. In General, it was difficult times. And it is necessary to have inside the rod, to be independent and never to yield. Later, gaining experience, became, of course, easier.
— What has changed in the household, in terms of infrastructure compared to when there was no KHL?
— Things are changing for the better. The hotel and the conditions became more comfortable and improved transport facilities. Before a truck threw the Luggage in the box and had to pick it up after the flight. But today, even in small towns all fairly good.
— How to organize the work of judges, provide, bring to the match?
— The KHL is in this respect closer to the NHL. Meets us and brings to the club car. In the future, with the club’s employees we don’t interact. In the NHL judges for a taxi to come to the games. Until we have such. Live judges separately from the clubs, and no common Lunches and dinners.
— The NHL debuted the Russians as the chief judge Eugene Romas’ko. Do You support contact with him and would You like to try the ocean?
— Romas’ko infrequently contacted, they will have to work more and make more flights and transfers. He judges mostly matches the American hockey League, the NHL he has worked a little. In fact, everything is not so rosy with the finances. But of course, it’s everyone’s dream to work there. But it depends mainly on the leadership of the NHL, and in addition to Romas’ko, and Swede Vinnerborg, they are still no one came out.
— You say that the KHL is already close to the NHL level, but still a dream about the League overseas. Why?
Is the best League in the world, the best players, skill and speed. This is especially noticeable when judging the Olympic games or world Championships. The difference in skill is still there, the average level of players in these tournaments is much higher than in the KHL.
— What memories do you have left Olympics?
I was in Turin and in Vancouver. Very good impression was left especially from Vancouver, it was held at the highest level. Full stadium, good locker rooms. Players anguelova does not behave like stars, he says that we are the best in the world, and talked in a friendly and simple.
— As for Your current situation. You were suspended from work in the KHL, I read many opinions, but the clearer the situation became.
— I also do not understand. Just sent a letter in the mail that the contract to me to sign for this year is inappropriate. Experienced a real shock. Say it is decided “up there” where upstairs I did not understand. Maybe it is this kind of reform, I do not know. In the end, I was left without my favorite things. But thanks to the ice hockey Federation of the Czech Republic, I was in the Czech Extraliga.
— I heard that You not only Czech Republic was offered a contract, but other European countries? Why the choice fell on the Czech Republic?
— If to leave, then to negotiate with the federations had in may, and about the non-renewal of a contract with me I found out in July, and at that time it has gained judicial pool, formed budgets. And with the Czech Republic very well turned out. Two judges left Extraliga (Mr Schindler retired, antonín Jerabek went to the KHL — approx. Radio Prague), and they have a deficit. We found common ground.
The best in Europe
— Can You say that the KHL is the best League in Europe?
— Yes, if we consider the aspect of organization and infrastructure. Almost all clubs have new palaces in Europe, many clubs are still using the old arena of the 80s buildings. As for the game, the Swedes are the closest in level to the NHL. Regarding Czech Republic, I noticed that here the first and third periods of the game are very similar in speed and dynamics on Russia, and the second period in the Extraliga play a little slower. This is my personal observation. Here I was struck by the way the Czechs love hockey, it is gratifying that the matches there are a lot of spectators, more than in Russia, and suffer more than in the KHL.
— Judging by the first reviews, the leaders of the Czech hockey pleased with Your work…
— I am pleasantly surprised that you all respond so positively. Yesterday, for example, before the match approached the line umpires, welcomed and even called a “star”. And in Brno came the fans, got his autograph, they even had harvested my pictures. You know, it pleased.
— What is the chief justice of the KHL, in Your understanding, what is its mission? Has anything changed after the appointment of Alexei Anisimov for this position?
— In fact, it is very hard to judge what is called outside. It seems to me that the vertical refereeing is not working properly. In particular, receive a lot of complaints from clubs that have to be considered. Many of the opinion that if the judge fails to work, then it should at least be fined. And obviously there is a negative attitude to punish, to remove the arbitrator. This is a destructive approach.
Need to engage in dialogue with the heads of the clubs as in the last few years, all the troubles blamed on refereeing. Maybe someone benefits from it, since all their failures can be justified. But no development will be. On the contrary, the judges will be even more afraid to make a mistake. As for Anisimov, it is said that he often stands up for judges. However, we shall see later, how the events will develop.
— How do You see the future of the KHL, after all, many clubs are now in serious financial trouble?
— Indeed, many teams have financial problems and I don’t know how these problems will be solved. It is obvious that, most likely, have to cut budgets due to the difficult financial situation, especially in the country. The sport we have is having hard times, not to say that the worst, especially in light of a new report by McLaren on doping in Russian sport. While Russian authorities say that all of these accusations are unproven, but if we continue to take a position that all around us, the conspiracies and all want to tarnish our reputation, then it only gets worse.
And a last question about one of the most significant events in Russian hockey — joining the Chinese club in the NHL. How do You think the expansion to China is the right way?
— Strategically — that’s right. I think originally you had to understand the situation and to perform. A thousand people at the match in China is not something they had expected the Kontinental hockey League. The idea of development in China, again, is good, and all the other issues should be addressed by the management of the Chinese club.