Harond Litim

Interview with Mr. Harond Litim, Player, Captain, Coach and Co-Founder of Hockey Algeria

The organization Hockey Algeria was founded in 2008 by three Algerians who loved and were absolutely obsessed with their ice hockey, Sirs Karim Kerbouche, the current President, Harond Litim, Vice-President, et Nassim Boulakdem. Today, we have decided to interview one of them, Mr. Harond Litim.

Interviewer: Today, we have the honour of being joined by the National Team’s Captain,
Coach as well as Cofounder, Harond. Hello and welcome. How are you Today?

Harond Litim: Hello, I am well, thanks for asking. How are you?

Interviewer: Likewise, thanks as well. Today, we will try to get to know the man behind the uniform a little better. Let’s start off with your full name please.

Harond Litim: Hello everyone, my name is Harond Litim, nice to meet you.

Interviewer: Nice to meet you Harond. Tell us, where do you currently play? What number do you wear? And what positions do you play on the ice? Furthermore, do you occupy any other roles or positions in your current club?

Harond Litim: This season, I play for Évry-Viry, which is in the third division of French Ice Hockey. My number is 6, and I play Centre and Left Wing. At my current club, I am Captain. I also act as an assistant to the coach.

Interviewer: Yes. From what we understand, you’ve been holding multiple hats within the Teams you’ve played for, for quite some time now. Tying into that, can you please tell us how you first get involved in Algerian Ice Hockey?

Harond Litim: In 2006, Karim Kerbouche, our current President, decided to create the first ice hockey team composed of Algerian players. After making some research on players, he reached out to me in 2007 to see if I had Algerian ancestry and if I would have any interest in participating in this project. As such, his first task was to confirm my Origin and Nationality. Once he established that I was indeed of Algerian origin, we started discussing about the possibility of creating such a team. I was immediately convinced by this idea and this project, so I immediately jumped all in. Karim already had a few names he had managed to find, including certain players I knew of in France. Because of my past playing career, I had already met fellow Algerians and was able to complete the first ever Algerian squad of ice hockey players. The target was to participate to a tournament that was going to be organized to inaugurate the brand new ice rink that, at the time, was being constructed in Abu Dhabi. Karim had furthermore visited the construction site to witness first-hand the progress of this new arena. Therefore, the members of the first inaugural Algerian team all joined up in England and we held our first Preparation Camp. We also got the chance to hold to Friendly contests against English
clubs. From there, we all left together to participate in Algeria’s very first international ice hockey tournament, which was held in 2008.

Interviewer: That’s an amazing Origin Story. We’ll definitely have to reach out to Karim to hear more about these first experiences. Tell us, do you have any nicknames? If so, what are they?

Harond Litim: With the National Team, I like to joke around and call myself “The Dictator”, as a team is not a democracy and you need one clear cut leader, and I am that leader. I value my comrades’ opinions. However, ultimately, I am the one responsible for these Operational Team Decisions. Therefore, during tournaments, I tend to be a little authoritarian and what I say is generally final. Otherwise, chaos would ensue. However, a while back, I got to play with a wonderful teammate, who is now coaching an NHL
team, Kris Knoblauch. So he is now coaching the Edmonton Oilers, but at the time, we played together for the “Bisons” of Neuilly-sur-Marne, in the Paris area. While we played together, he had affectionately nicknamed me “The Train”, because I had great drive and did not ever back away from challenges. I had drive, I was not one to back down, and I always gave my 200%. Therefore, in his eyes, I was like a train, or a bull, that wouldn’t be stopped. I remember this time with him, and this nickname, very fondly, as it really represents my general mindset.

Interviewer: That’s an amazing story. I’m sure he also remembers fondly his “Train”. What is your first ever ice hockey memory or souvenir? What made you discover ice hockey and fall in love with it, to the point where you made it your life and career?

Harond Litim: Actually, yes! I remember it like it was Yesterday! I was ten at the time. I was watching the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and I fell on this odd, unusual sport that was, for me and at the time, quite exotic, but ultimately very exciting. I was immediately hooked on ice hockey, and wanted to play it. I said to myself, “Well, why not me?” Unfortunately, ice hockey is ultimately an expensive sport, and that was a hurdle for me back then, as well as the reason why not. Fortunately, in France, Physical Education classes send you to practice sports in various facilities. For me, I was fortunate. I got the choice between going to the pool to swim, or going to the ice rink. The choice was very easy, and quite obvious, for me. I always said to anyone who would listen that I would make pro. And ultimately, I did. I got to experience much more than I had originally imagined possible. I am not sure that it would be possible to do it again nowadays. And so, I am very grateful for the mindset I’ve always had and all the hard work that I’ve put into it, as that is what allowed me to reach my goals.

Interviewer: So, following that, when did you actually start playing ice hockey? What was the general context?

Harond Litim: Literally almost right away. I was smitten the first time I saw the sport on TV. I was likewise over the top when I first played it. This was in the season covering 1989 and 1990, when I got the opportunity to play for my local club, which at the time was called Évry SCA 2000 (and later became les “Peaux-Rouges” d’Évry before fusing with another borough’s club, le Viry Hockey 91 – les “Jets” de Viry-Châtillon, and becoming l’Évry-Viry Centre Essonne Hockey Club, better known as les “Jets” d’Évry-Viry). I must have been eleven at the time.

Interviewer: What do you love the most about ice hockey?

Harond Litim: Ice hockey is really a life style. You live ice hockey, you breathe ice hockey, you eat ice hockey, you sleep ice hockey. It is a complete sport, both physically and mentally, that englobes everything. You have the aspects and values associated with Team Spirit, you have those associated with Fair Play. Then, you also have the vital ones relating to Competitive Spirit and the Winners’ Mentality. These are all critical to have in this amazing sport. Furthermore, you have the speed of the game, the skating, which is a wonderful feeling, a feeling of Freedom and Liberty.

Interviewer: Indeed. If you could change one rule, or one thing, in the sport of ice hockey, what would it be?

Harond Litim: Fighting. This will be a bit of a controversial thing to say nowadays, but fighting is part of the sport. That being said, it is not to be taken lightly. Fighting needs to have a purpose in ice hockey. It cannot be gratuitous. What I would change, is the sanctioning of fighting. I would give it a simple minor penalty, without any expulsions, rather than a 5 minute major penalty. It is simply part of the culture of the sport, and I feel like taking it away will potentially make the sport more dangerous, with certain players maybe feeling enabled to take certain liberties, if you understand what I mean.

Interviewer: Yes. Fighting as a means to keep control over the game. In essence, not allow this very physical sport to degenerate into simply a violent altercation and nothing more. What is your go to pre-game music?

Harond Litim: I’d have to go with DMX. The song “X Gon’ Give It To Ya”. The way it builds up get me into the mindset I want every time.

Interviewer: I can imagine that. It is a good choice. Do you have a pre-game ritual?

Harond Litim: I do not have an actual pre-game ritual. My pre-game ritual is simply getting dressed in my equipment. That automatically “turns me on” into my gameplay mindset.

Interviewer: Straight to business then. That’s great! And what is your favourite pre-game meal? Furthermore, what is your all-time favourite meal?

Harond Litim: That one’s easy. For both, it’s the same. I love chicken and pasta!

Interviewer: Can’t go wrong with that! What is your favourite ice hockey movie?

Harond Litim: I would say “Young Blood”.

Interviewer: What is your favourite non ice hockey movie?

Harond Litim: That would be “Any Given Sunday”.

Interviewer: What is your favourite team in the National Hockey League (NHL)?

Harond Litim: Traditionally, I would have said the Montréal Canadiens, because of their historic success. However, now, I need to go with the Edmonton Oilers, because of my good friend and former teammate Kris Knoblauch. I simply cannot not support him. He’s just an all-around great person.

Interviewer: That is understandable. I am sure he’d be very happy to hear you say that. Who is you all- time favourite NHL player?

Harond Litim: Hahahaha! I’m going to have to go outside of the box for this one. I’ll go with my good friend Stéphane DaCosta, who played as number 24 with the Ottawa Senators a few years back. He’s no longer in the NHL. However, he is having great success playing in the KHL now. I been following him diligently in his professional career!

Interviewer: I can respect that. What is your favourite city to visit?

Harond Litim: That’s also easy. It’s absolutely New York City! I absolutely adore this city!

Interviewer: That’s good news for you in regards to your next upcoming tournament! What is the best advice you ever received from your coaches?

Harond Litim: It’s going to sound a little tacky and repetitive, but always enjoy, always have fun. Never give up, always believe. And always play until the whistle blows. Always believe in what you do and never give up.

Interviewer: Rightfully so. And what would be your favourite saying or motto?

Harond Litim: “I do not know how to play, I only know how to win.”

Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?

Harond Litim: Yes. One last thing that wasn’t mentioned before. I am very proud and honoured to have my original jersey of the “Corsaires d’Alger”, the first Algerian club team I cofounded with my fellow Hockey Algeria associates, in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. It is simply incredible. You cannot compare this feeling to anything else in the world. Seeing your own jersey in a showcase like that is not something that I would have imagined as a youth. There can be no other souvenir that could make me prouder in the world of ice hockey!

Interviewer: Thank you very much for your time Harond. We very much look forward to seeing you and the Algerian National Team in action this upcoming April in East Rutherford, New Jersey (NYC area), for the inaugural edition (2024) of Dream Nations’ Cup. We want to take this moment to wish you the best of luck in this tournament!

Harond Litim: Thank you! Thank you! Come out in numbers and come watch us play and support us. You won’t regret it! We’ll show you that Africans can also play ice hockey!