NIZHNI NOVGOROD, Russia – SKIF Nizhni Novgorod, the defending champion of the Russian women’s hockey league and one of the favourites in the 2015 IIHF European Women’s Champions Cup, signs former Russian men’s national team coach Vladimir Plyushev to a one-year contract with an option for a second season.
The 59-year-old coached the Russian men’s national team at the 2003 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship finishing in seventh place. Plyushev was more successful in international junior hockey. He coached the U20 national team for two years winning gold in 2002. In two years with the U18 national team he led the team to gold (2001) and silver (2009). His last international assignment was with the U20 national team in the 2010 World Juniors.
Most recently he was coaching Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan’s most traditional club team that competes in the second-tier Russian league VHL, and the Kazakh students’ team that won silver in the 2013 Winter Universiade.
For Plyushev, who previously has only been in touch with female hockey when crossing the paths at the Russian Ice Hockey Federation’s training centre in Novogorsk, it will be the first job in women’s hockey.
“The offer from SKIF was somewhat surprising to me. I was long thinking about it,” Plyushev said. “I have long been familiar with the club’s president Sergei Kolotnev, who pioneered women’s hockey in Russia. He said that for the current season the team was without a head coach and offered me to lead a team that set high goals for the new season. We need to defend the Russian league title and battle for victory in the European Women’s Champions Cup. It will be interesting work that I take very seriously. Being at the helm of the best Russian team is a very honourable and responsible mission.”
SKIF Nizhni Novgorod will host Group E of the European Women’s Champions Cup from 5th to 7th December and aims at bringing the trophy back to Russia after three consecutive wins by league rival Tornado Moscow Region, which last spring lost the Russian title to SKIF with a one-point margin.