MOSCOW – The Ice Hockey Federation of Russia appointed Alexei Kasatonov as General Manager of the Russian men’s national team for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on home ice in Sochi.
Earlier Alexei Yashin had been named GM of the women’s team for the Olympics.
“We all know what the Olympics mean, what kind of interest it creates worldwide. It’s the biggest prize in hockey and I just couldn’t turn down this offer,” Kasatonov was quoted by Reuters.
“My job would be to talk to players, including those from the NHL, but the head coach will always have the final word.”
The 53-year-old IIHF Hall of Fame member won two Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988) with the Soviets in addition to five World Championship golds and one Canada Cup. The former defenceman was on the World Championship All-Star Team on five occasions.
In the successful ‘80s he was part of the KLM line where he formed a defence pair with Vyacheslav Fetisov to join forwards Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov.
Kasatonov played for SKA Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and CSKA Moscow before joining the New Jersey Devils in the 1989/1990 season. He spent seven years in the NHL before retiring as a player with CSKA Moscow in 1997.
Kasatonov already was the national team’s General Manager once, in the 2000 IIHF World Championship on home ice in St. Petersburg that ended with a record-low 11th-place finish for the Russians.
Since then he has had several coaching and managerial duties within Russian club hockey. In 2009/10 he was head coach of Krylya Sovietov Moscow in the second-tier league, later Vice President of Hockey Operations at CSKA Moscow and for the last two years General Manager of his hometown club SKA St. Petersburg, one of the most prestigious club teams of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Kasatonov’s goal will be to lead Russia to the first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey since Albertville 1992 when the Russians won gold as the “Unified Team”.