Vujtek to retire where he began

Slovakia coach stays until 2015 Worlds in his hometown

23.06.2014
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Vladimir Vujtek will coach Slovakia for a fourth IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship next year before ending his career. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

BRATISLAVA – The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation has extended the contract with national team coach Vladimir Vujtek until the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The 67-year-old also announced that he will retire as a coach following the World Championship. It will be a special farewell for the Czech since Slovakia will play all seven preliminary-round games in Ostrava, Vujtek’s hometown.

The city of roughly 300,000 inhabitants is just 50 kilometres away from the Czech-Slovak border and is expected to become a vibrant home for Slovak hockey fans next spring.

“I’m very happy that I got the confidence from the federation’s management to continue my work. I’m glad that the World Championship will be in Ostrava, my hometown. I hope that in next year’s World Championship I can end my coaching career on a high note,” said Vujtek, who doesn’t exclude remaining in hockey in another capacity.

Vujtek took over the Slovak national team in August 2011. In his first World Championship he led the team to the silver medals in 2012. One year later the Slovaks finished in eighth place after a tight quarter-final loss to Finland while the team missed the quarter-finals this year both at the Olympics in Sochi and at the recent World Championship in Minsk.

While Vujtek will be coaching the Slovaks in his home rink in Ostrava, the team and fans hope that his last game as a coach will be at the O2 Arena in Prague, the World Championship’s primary venue that will host the other group and the final games of the event.

Vujtek spent most of his player’s career in the top Czechoslovak league with Vitkovice Ostrava where he also worked as a coach for 15 years. He also coached Karvina, the U20 national team, Zlin and Trinec in the Czech Republic, and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Ak Bars Kazan and Dynamo Moscow in Russia.

Peter Oremus and Vladimir Orszagh will remain as Vujtek’s assistant coaches on the Slovak national team. The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation will be looking for a successor to take over from Vujtek in a year.

MARTIN MERK

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