Spero Mantzavrakos spent the summer with the Amur Khabarovsk team
Spero Mantzavrakos made the most of his shot and now he’s getting ready to head back to Russia for the
Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) season.
The owner of Next Level Training in Stratford spent the summer with the Amur Khabarovsk.
The team has signed the certified strength and conditioning coach for the coming season and he expects to be heading back there next week.
“The players responded well to the training,” Mantzavrakos said.
“When I explained to them what I wanted them to do they were really happy. They were so used to running 10 kilometres each day.”
He also introduced a day or two off per week to allow the body to recover as part of the training regime.
Mantzavrakos’ resume includes the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and the London Knights as well as players like San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton and Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry.
He is looking forward to the new challenge, but said it was a tough choice. His wife and son will remain here on the Island as he works with the professional hockey team through the end of April.
“If you can go somewhere and leave a mark and make a difference, it makes you happy in your job.” Spero Mantzavrakos
“They support me 100 per cent,” Mantzavrakos said.
What it all means for Next Level Training remains to be seen. Mantzavrakos said he would be discussing that with an investor and expects to make a decision soon.
“The people that have come through my door have been so patriotic,” he said.
But he knows the KHL is an opportunity he has to explore.
“Amur has been very good to me,” Mantzavrakos said. “They are completely backing me up.”
The freedom to implement new systems and investigate areas like how travelling and time zones impact the players is exciting for him.
“If you can go somewhere and leave a mark and make a difference, it makes you happy in your job,” he said.