Zubov to coach Russia at World Juniors
by Martin Merk|24 NOV 2021
Sergei Zubov was working as a head coach in the KHL for the past six years.
photo: Artur Lebedev / RIA Novosti
Former Olympic champion and Stanley Cup winner Sergei Zubov was named new head coach of the Russian U20 national team with one month to go until the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Originally Oleg Bratash was planned to coach the U20 national team and succeed Igor Larionov but on Tuesday Zubov was named head coach. Bratash will remain in the coaching staff along with assistant coaches Alexander Titov and Vladimir Filatov.

“I am ready to work in this role at the World Junior Championship. I think that our coaching staff has enough knowledge and experience to work at such a large tournament, we have a talented team and we're preparing for the competition,” Zubov said.

Bratash said about the change: “In order to effectively prepare for the World Junior Championship, Sergei Zubov has been declared the team's head coach. At the tournament we will speak a lot with the organizers, there will be a strict Covid-19 protocol, and Sergei speaks English as a result of his experience of living in North America. Furthermore, he has coached in the KHL. These aren't major changes.”

Zubov is familiar with the World Juniors of another area having won gold with the Soviet Union in 1989 and silver in 1990. Later in his career the long-time NHL defenceman won Olympic gold in 1992 and the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994 and with the Dallas Stars 1999.

After 12 years with the stars he returned to Russia to play his last season with SKA St. Petersburg in 2009/2010 being the top-scoring defenceman of the KHL. There he started his coaching career as an assistant coach and had his debut as head coach in 2015/2016. Later he coached league rivals HK Sochi and most recently Dinamo Riga where he resigned one month ago. Earlier this month he served as men’s national team head coach at the Karjala Tournament in Finland.

The Russian U20 national team will gather at its base in Novogorsk outside Moscow on 1 December and after medical tests have a training camp from 4 to 14 December and play an exhibition game against KHL team Vityaz Podolsk. 34 players based in Russia have been nominated for the camp, many of them born in 2002 but also 16-year-old wunderkind Matvei Michkov is on the camp roster. On 15 December the team will travel to Canada.