Bilyaletdinov let go

Russian coach leaves, search starts

05.03.2014
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Russian head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov looks on as he replaced goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov with Sergei Bobrovski during the Olympic quarter-final game against Finland. Photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images

MOSCOW – Russia will enter the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk with a new national coach. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov leaves his post.

Bilyaletdinov reported to the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia’s Executive Committee on Wednesday and the result was what most hockey people in Russia expected since the 3-1 quarter-final loss to Finland at the 2014 Olympics on home ice in Sochi.

The coach told media after the meeting that he is ready to leave and the federation’s President Vladislav Tretiak confirmed that a new coach will be searched after the failure in Sochi, although no names were announced yet.

Bilyaletdinov was named head coach of the Russian national team in June 2011 to follow after Vyacheslav Bykov. He led Russia to a gold medal in his first big event at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki and Stockholm. However, the team failed to repeat the success at the 2013 Worlds and in Sochi 2014.

While Bilyaletdinov leaves, the women’s national team coach Mikhail Chekanov stays. Although the sixth-place finish at the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament was deemed unsatisfactory, the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia plans to continue working with Chekanov.

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