Bobcats create speed off back line with transitioning defender Artyom Tkachenko

by Charles Ryan

The Blue Ridge Bobcats look to build their backline with the signing of Rookie Defenseman Artyom Tkachenko to a Professional Tryout.

Tkachenko comes to Wytheville out of Moldova, where he spent the last couple of years skating for HK Brezno in the Slovakia2 league, and Fehérvári Titánok and Dunaújvárosi Acélbikák in the Erste Liga.

In both leagues, fans could see what appeared to be a transitioning defender in Tkachenko. Playing more off the blue line and setting up plays heading through neutral ice. A player you could count on bringing the puck down and finding openings across the line. During his time in the Erste Liga, he netted two assists for Dunaújvárosi Acélbikák, moving down ice and working with quick shots to move into the slot.

Prior to his time in the Erste Liga, the 23-year-old Chisinau Moldova native spent his time skating with PHC Budapest U20 during the 2018-2019 season, UTE 21 for the 2019-2020 season, and HK SGAFKSiT Smolensk during the 2020-2021 season. He tallied his best season with UTE 21, earning 12 goals, 17 assists, and 29 points in 32 games for the team.

Head Coach Vojtech Zemlicka says that one of the reasons that he looked at Tkachenko was his ability to create opportunities off the blue line.

“Artyom has a history of playing in the Erste League in Hungary, that’s a very good and high level of hockey. He’s a 6 '4'' well-moving defenseman all over the ice, who loves to skate the puck up, jumps on rushes, and is always looking to be available for passes because he wants to have a puck on his stick. He’s got great patience on the blue line and he’s not afraid to make a move to create opportunities for his teammates and himself. He’s got great habits on the ice, he likes to use his size to be physical at the right moments. He is very difficult to get by and always goes stick on puck forcing opponent players to make turnovers. He’s a perfect fit for our style and for our identity of who we’re looking to be,” Zemlicka said.

You can catch Artyom Tkachenko and the rest of the Blue Ridge Bobcats for their home opener and the start of the inaugural season on Friday, October 20th at 7:30 p.m. inside the Apex Center(The Den). Don't miss any of the action this season and pick up your season tickets now at

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