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Russian ice hockey chief Tretiak says Oleg Znarok appointed as head coach of national team

Znarok signed a one-year contract and the previous head coach of the national ice hockey squad, Valery Bragin, will serve as an advisor with the Russian team

ST. PETERSBURG, September 24. /TASS/. Oleg Znarok has been appointed to the post of head coach of the Russian national ice hockey team, President of the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF) Vladislav Tretiak said on Friday.

Znarok signed a one-year contract and the previous head coach of the national ice hockey squad, Valery Bragin, will serve as an advisor with the Russian team.

"Znarok has the authority among the NHL players and we hope that he will unite the [national] team," Tretiak told journalists. "He is charismatic and previously led the team to win the [2014 IIHF] World Championship in Minsk."

President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel said, commenting on Znarok’s appointment, that certain difficulties may emerge in summoning players from the US-based National Hockey League (NHL) to play for the national team.

Fasel, who currently attends the IIHF Congress in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, said that it was necessary to summon NHL players to play for their national teams during international tournaments, but Znarok would have little time for their training as part of the national squad.

The IIHF chief said that the same scenario can be applied to the national ice hockey teams from Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic.

Fasel noted that Russia has one of the world’s best goaltenders, namely Andrei Vasilevsky (NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning), but Znarok has the task now to build the team’s chemistry and it will be very difficult.

About the new head coach

Znarok, 58, took over the Russian national ice hockey team as the head coach after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the main goal of winning gold at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang and this is what the team of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) achieved in February of 2018.

Besides the 2018 Olympic gold, Znarok led the so-called Red Machine to four IIHF World Championships medals, namely gold in 2014, silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 and 2017.

Znarok will now lead the Russian national team as the head coach at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in China’s Beijing, which are scheduled to be held between February 4 and 20, and later at the 2022 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships in Finland on May 13-29.