RIGA – Andrejs Zakis, a long-time official on and off the ice in Latvia, former goalie and former head coach of the Latvian women’s national team, passed away on Friday. He was 61 years old.
Zakis started his career as an on-ice official in 1978 and was for five years officiating games in the Soviet championship and was a supervisor in IIHF tournaments.
After independence in the ‘90s he started to work in the development of women’s hockey in the country. He was the head coach of the Latvian women’s national team at the 1995 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s European Championship the country hosted in Riga. In 2000 and 2001 he returned as the assistant coach and from 2003 to 2008 and in 2012 he was the team’s head coach at six IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I events as well as the Olympic Qualification in the 2012/2013 season.
At the same time he remained active with the Latvian Hockey Federation as an off-ice official, most recently at games of the top Latvian senior league and at junior games one week before his death, was the LHF’s referee in chief for many years and worked as an off-ice officials at international tournaments in Latvia.