Ice Hockey UK has named new head coaches for their male junior teams. Slava Koulikov will be the new head coach of the U20 national team while Jeff Hutchins was named head coach of the Great Britain U18 national team.
Slava Koulikov was born in the Soviet Union and later lived in Ukraine and Hungary before his father’s player career brought the family to Great Britain when he was 15. He played professional hockey during 19 years, mostly in Great Britain and one year in Ukraine. He then became a player-coach with the EPIHL’s Slough Jets and later with the Peterborough Phantoms before quitting as a player and focusing on his duties as head coach in 2015.
The 38-year-old steps up from his role as assistant of the U20s and has been part of the GB programme for the past two years.
“I am very honoured to be selected as head coach of GB Under-20s. There is a lot of work ahead and we have set high short and long-term goals. I always challenge to be the best and am really looking forward to it,” Koulikov said. “I would like to thank Tom Watkins for first bringing me into the GB programme and also to Tony Hand and the board for trusting me in the new head coach role."
IHUK national development head coach, Tony Hand, said: “Slava is very well respected within the UK game and is a perfect fit for this position. He already has head coach experience in the UK and knows the GB junior programme from his assistant coaching role with the under-20s in the past two years. Our ethos is not just to develop players but to develop coaches as well and we have some very exciting announcements on the horizon for the GB coaching set-up.”
Martin Grubb, who was the U20 national team’s head coach last season, and Aaron Nell will serve as assistant coaches.
After relegation last winter, Great Britain will compete at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B on home ice in Dumfries, Scotland. They will battle for promotion against Japan, Romania, Estonia, the Netherlands and Korea.
Ice Hockey UK has named Jeff Hutchins as new head coach of the Great Britain U18 national team on Monday.
The British-Canadian forward transferred from the American Hockey League to Great Britain’s EIHL in 2005 and represented Great Britain at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I in 2011 and 2012. From 2012 to 2015 he was a player-coach for the EIHL’s Dundee Stars. In 2015/2016 he coached the China Dragon in the Asia League and returned to Great Britain after one season to become an assistant coach and director of player development for the EIHL’s Fife Flyers.
The 39-year-old will continue his job with the Flyers and combine his duties with his new position as head coach of the U18 national team.
“I am very honoured to be named the head coach of the GB Under-18s team. I have been part of the senior programme as a player and understand what it means to play for your country,” Hutchins said.
“I am excited to be part of it now as the 18s coach. I have to thank Tony and the GB board for entrusting me with this opportunity. We have discussed at length about the direction of the programme and what the objectives are moving forward. I am excited to get started.”
Tony Hand, said: “Jeff’s experience is extensive, not just in the UK but across the world. He has some excellent ideas about moving the programme forward and he is well respected in the UK. I am sure he will be a great fit for the under-18s and I look forward to working with him.”
Hutchins takes over from Martin Grubb, who was the head coach during the past four years but made the move to the U20 team already last season.
The team will compete at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A in Tallinn against Poland, host Estonia, Lithuania, Korea and Australia.
– with files from Ice Hockey UK