MINSK – The Belarusian Ice Hockey Association didn’t extend the contract with Andrei Skabelka as national coach and is reported to be negotiating with Glen Hanlon.
Under Hanlon the Belarusian national team had its best performances in World Championship history. He coached the team in three years – 2005, 2006 and 2009 – and led it to the quarter-finals twice. The 6th place in Riga 2006 was the best finish for Belarus in a World Championship.
Since leading Belarus to the quarter-finals at the 2009 World Championship in Switzerland, the national team hasn’t achieved a top-8 placing and fell down to 14th place in the 2013 IIHF World Ranking.
Hanlon arrived in Belarus last week to talk with the association but no agreement has been finalized yet.
The coach with American and Canadian citizenship was also coaching the Slovak national team for two years but was let go after missing the quarter-finals in 2010 and on home ice in Bratislava in 2011. Most recently he was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants in the past season.
Skabelka was hired as Belarusian national coach in November 2012 to replace the Finn Kari Heikkilä. He coached the national team in the Final Olympic Qualification, where Belarus lost its ticket to Sochi 2014 to Slovenia, and in the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where Belarus finished below its expectations in 14th place.
After Skabelka’s contract had not been extended by the end of May, the former national team player signed with Russian KHL team Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod where he will be the assistant of Latvian head coach Peteris Skudra.