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MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Russia’s former ice hockey player and NHL expert has been appointed Assistant Coach of Pittsburgh Penguins, which had been packing the Stanley Cup for the last two years, the club’s official website reported on Wednesday.
Gonchar, 43, worked over the last two-year period with Pittsburgh Penguins as the club’s defensemen development coach, and by training the blueliners he played an important role in taking the second-straight Stanley Cup.
Commenting on the appointment, Head Coach Mike Sullivan said: "Sergei brings a wealth of hockey knowledge to our team."
"His career is a body of work that speaks for itself," the club’s official website quoted Sullivan as saying. "He will naturally transition into a full-time coaching role, building on the experiences and relationships he has already made with our group."
"He (Gonchar) was invaluable during the playoffs, especially in working with our young defensemen," Sullivan added.
Gonchar played in the US-based National Hockey League (NHL) between 1995 and 2015, including for Washington Capitals (1995-2004), Boston Bruins (2004), Pittsburgh Penguins (2005-2010), Ottawa Senators (2010-2013), Dallas Stars (2013/2014) and Montreal Canadiens (2014/2015).
He is currently the best Russian defenseman to ever play in NHL, packing a record of 811 points (220 goals plus 591 assists) in 1,301 matches.
Gonchar also played for the Russian national squad on numerous occasions including four Olympic Games, which brought him 1998 silver in Japan’s Nagano and 2002 bronze in US Salt Lake City.