RIGA – The Latvian Hockey Federation (LHF) has named Leonids Tambijevs head coach of the U18 national team.
Tambijevs, 41, played professional hockey until 2008 and represented the Latvian national team in 15 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (11 in the Top Division) and two Olympic Winter Games. He played 208 games for the Latvian national team, notching 150 points (66G+84A), both records in Latvian hockey history.
The Riga native began his coaching career in 2008 with SK Riga 18 of the Latvian league. Currently he’s in his second season with HK Riga, Dinamo Riga’s junior team that plays in Russia’s top junior league, MHL.
Tambijevs has previously had one assignment with the U18 national team as an assistant coach at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championship.
Latvia will play a Four Nations Tournament in Esbjerg, Denmark, against Belarus, Denmark and Norway next week to prepare for the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in the Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, in April.
It will be the third time Latvia plays in the Top Division of the U18 category. In 2007 and 2010 Latvia finished in tenth and ninth place respectively and couldn’t avoid relegation back to Division I.
Latvia will play Sweden, Russia, Germany and Switzerland in Group B of the Preliminary Round.