In the coming season, Slovan Bratislava’s 38-year-old forward Jan Lipiansky will be the most experienced player in his team. But in September the veteran player, just like his team, will be making his debut in the KHL. After one of the team’s training sessions, Jan shared his thoughts with the KHL press service.

“Jan, what are you expecting from the new season?”
“I’m already 38, but I still haven’t played at that level. I can say it will be the high point of my career – a new team, a new league and new possibilities. Now we are working really hard so we can be ready to start the season with all guns blazing. If I’m honest, I’d say we’re a little nervous about making our debut in the KHL.”

“How has hockey in Slovakia changed over the last ten years?”
“Right now the game is experiencing some financial problems, just like in all of Western Europe, by the way. This has a negative impact. In all, I’ve played the last eight seasons in Slovakia and I’d say the competition is quite fierce – there is no great difference in class between the five leading clubs, so the games between these teams are very exciting. But now we’re delighted that we’re joining the KHL and moving up to a higher level, to play against teams which are among the best in the world and are certainly the best in Europe. And we’ll have to play at a consistently high level.”

“In Prague they told us that playing in the KHL will be even more interesting for the fans because every game in the League will be like an international game. Do the fans in Bratislava have the same view?”
“Yes, definitely. It’s always interesting to compare the play of a team from your own country with that of opponents from Sweden, Finland or Russia. There’s already a lot of excitement here with the start of the European Trophy tournament next week, and when the season gets underway the fascination with the KHL will grow and grow.”

“In the Western Conference there will be 14 teams battling for 8 play-off berths, and many believe it will be tough for Slovan. In your view, what will Slovan need to make it into the play-offs?”
“First and foremost – a good start to the season. For us that’s very important because then any nerves will evaporate. Apart from that, we’ll have to play with great discipline and 100% commitment – the only way you earn success. There’s one more important factor, and one which we’ve talked about as a team – to pick up as few penalties as possible. That’s our recipe for success.”

“What can you tell us about Rostislav Cada? Judging by the training sessions, he’s a very strict coach.”
“Yes, he’s very strict and demanding. He has a wealth of experience in this work, and now he’s doing everything possible to get us prepared for the season. And this is no easy task, since there’s an obvious difference in class between the KHL and the Slovak Extraliga. Plus there’s the problem with all the traveling. But we’re confident we’ll be ready by the start of season.”

Vladimir Samokhin, from Bratislava, special for khl.ru

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