MINSK – The executive committee of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association approved on Wednesday the candidacy of Mikhail Zakharov to become the head coach of the men’s national team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Zakharov was selected by the Ministry of Sport as their prime candidate to succeed Glen Hanlon.
Zakharov, born 1962 in Ust-Kamenogorsk, has been coaching the country’s top club Yunost Minsk since 2003, winning four national championships and the 2007 Continental Cup.
Zakharov was also the head coach of the Belarusian U20 national team from 2003-2005 and an assistant coach of the men’s national team in 2004. As a player, he represented Dynamo Minsk in the Soviet league for eleven years and captained the Belarusian national team in the C-Pool World Championship.
“He’s the right choice for us considering the short time we had,” the general secretary Sergej Gontcharov said. “He won several championships, he won the Continental Cup, he’s the current Coach of the Year, he has coaching experience with the junior national team and many of our top players were coached by him. That’s a big advantage.”
The only problem is that Ukraine announced the signing of a one-year contract with Zakharov in October. There haven’t been talks between the parties yet, but according to media reports in Belarus and Ukraine, Zakharov might coach both Belarus at the Olympics in February, and Ukraine at the World Championship Division I in April.
The Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine preferred not to comment on this issue at the moment.
Zakharov will meet the national team for the first time in December for a camp in Slovakia where they will play exhibition games against Slovakia and Switzerland.
He plans to announce his assistant coaches on 30th November.