Coach seals deal
Canadian Dave Lewis is to continue working with the Belarusian national ice hockey team
Michael Lenner, Craig Woodcroft, Oleg Antonenko and Andrey Mezin are also to continue working with the national squad. However, Alexander Zhurikov, who has concluded a contract with a Supreme Hockey League club, is to be replaced by Yuri Faikov.
The Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation, Igor Rachkovsky, comments on the signing of the contract, saying, “The Federation doesn’t doubt even for a second the need to continue working with Dave Lewis. As soon as we first met him, he showed his professionalism. It was difficult to assess his coaching style immediately, but not his character. I won’t enumerate the names of the many previous coaches whose first words were about how much they wanted to be paid, but Dave had no interest in this. On the contrary, he proposed that he demonstrate his usefulness before we chatted about long-term collaboration. We understood that, after the World Championship, Lewis would be made suggestions from abroad. Fortunately, Dave has chosen to continue working with us and we’ve found consensus across all positions. Of course, the sum of the contract has increased in line with the success of the team.”
At the press conference, Dave Lewis was in good-humour. The huge golden NHL championship ring shone symbolically on his hand. The message was clear, the coach is aiming for championship titles with the national team of Belarus.
He emphasised, “The goals for the forthcoming season are to try to win medals at the World Championship, hosted by Russia, and to ensure Olympic qualification. There’s nothing surprising in my words. However, it’s necessary to make the players believe that they can do this, through persistent hard work. At the world forum in Russia, we’ll first face teams from Finland, the USA and Canada. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which order we play them. The 2015 World Championship in the Czech Republic has assured us that there are no easy games at that level.”
By Igor Leshin