UNH Commit Stiven Sardaryan: An Outstanding Playmaker
I had an opportunity to interview Stiven Sardaryan, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:
Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"):
Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. How did you first become interested in UNH?
Thank you for your congratulations. I am really pleased to learn and play for the University of New Hampshire. I've always liked the NCAA games, it's very serious and strong hockey.
I have looked through dozens of UNH game clippings. Personally, I have not been to the matches. But during a video conference with UNH, the coaches showed us everything both on video and at the presentation. It was super. They were distinguished by their special spirit, student energy, beautiful show and the excitement of numerous, real fans.
As a rising star with Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (Red Army Moscow) in the Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (Junior Hockey League), you have many options in Russia, other European countries, and North America to pursue your hockey career. What hockey leagues, other than the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), did you consider joining?
I've played in Russia for CSKA Red Army (Moscow). I did not consider other offers in Russia, as I played in one of the best teams in the youth league and I had an unfinished contract. In 2021, there were several offers from the QMJHL, WHL, and OHL of the Canadian Youth Hockey League also from North America. All the offers were from decent teams, but already at the beginning of the year I was very keen on the offer to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Of course, any hockey player aspires to play in the NHL, I also decided for myself that the most ideal place to prepare for the NHL and at the same time get the necessary education is in the NCAA.
What are the main reasons you chose to commit to the NCAA, in general, and UNH, in particular?
The NCAA is a good technical training base for athletes with professional coaches and already trained, mature players. It also provides good opportunities to simultaneously study and train without any loss of quality. Every year, the NCAA becomes more popular and the percentage of players in the NHL who played NCAA hockey increases.
As for the choice of a specific university, the University of New Hampshire, several aspects played a role. In the proposal from UNH, I saw specific goals, objectives, a great desire and faith to realize this together with me. We had very pleasant, rather frank and long negotiations with Coach Mike Souza and Assistant Jeff Giuliano. Their presentation interested me very much. I think they are real professionals and love their job very much. They know what they want from me and I know that I can give it to them.
What other college programs in the United States did you consider during the recruiting process? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?
In choosing a university, we thought for a long time, consulted my family and 100% decided that my path would be connected with the University of New Hampshire and I am very glad that everything turned out to be successful.
Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at the University of New Hampshire and join the team?
In the month of May, I signed my contract with CSKA Red Army and signed an agreement with the UNH coach to join the team and enroll at the University of New Hampshire in 2022. We came to a general agreement that before I start playing for UNH and study at the university, I need to spend a year in the United States Hockey League (USHL). It will allow me to get used to the climate, to the terrain, to prepare physically and improve my English.
I want to especially thank the Coaches of the Men’s Hockey team at the University of New Hampshire. Coach Mike Souza and Assistant Jeff Giuliano were very helpful in finding a suitable United State Hockey (USHL) team where I will be spending the next season in the USA before I enroll at the university in Fall, 2022.
On May 27th, you were selected by the Youngstown Phantoms in the second round (16th overall) of the United State Hockey League Phase II Draft. Do you plan on signing with Youngstown and playing there next season?
A few days before the USHL Draft, we had to get acquainted with several team coaches, to consider their proposal. Thanks to the Youngstown team for choosing me in the draft. They also managed to acquire other good players in this draft and I am sure this year will be a triumphant one for Youngstown.
We also had a long conversation with Brad Patterson Head Coach and General Manager of the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. With both the Youngstown Phantoms and New Hampshire coaches, we understand each other well, we understand what we can do, what we want and we are confident that we will achieve our goals. In the Youngstown Phantoms' team, we have one goal - to win the 2021-22 trophy and I'm going there for that!
This past season, your first in the MHL, you were the fifth leading scorer for Krasnaya Armiya with 9 goals and 21 assists in 50 games. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the main strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?
Last year, unfortunately, I had to miss a lot of games due to COVID-19. I am not happy with the results of last season, I did not have the opportunity to fully realize myself. As for the strongest sides, but if you can call it the strongest, then I like to play with my head and hands. I can see the field of play from above like a chessboard. I like to play beautifully and most importantly effectively.
As a teenager, my father regularly took me to chess matches and explained that it was important for hockey and now I understand why. Perhaps these are my good qualities and I use it successfully. It is important for me that the coaches of the teams where I am going to play see and understand these qualities and have invited me to play because of them. They understand that with the right partners, our link can be an unconditional checkmate on the opponent's goals.
As for what else to work on, there is always something to do. This season I will pay special attention to physical development. I need to gain some muscle mass.
The National Hockey League's Central Scouting Service has ranked you the 72nd international skater under consideration for the 2021 NHL Draft. What would it mean to you to be drafted by an NHL team?
Being selected in the NHL Draft is a chance to get into the NHL and above all a great responsibility to those who believe in me. And I would use this opportunity with dignity and would try to justify all expectations.
What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?
My strengths in studies are good memory and ability to concentrate. I can quickly prioritize assignments, learn and remember easily. English will be very easy, and I want to choose a course in business and management at the university.