By Igor Leshin
Famous Vladimir Krikunov officially becomes head coach for national ice hockey squad
A contract has been signed for two years, with the chance of extension for the same period if the national team qualifies for the Olympics in 2018. This is the second time that Vladimir Krikunov, 64, has headed the Belarusian ice hockey squad, having done so from 2002-2003. He took his players to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, where they reached the semi-final and achieved a sensational victory in defeating one of the strongest teams in the world — Sweden (4:3).
Krikunov is being paid 200,000 Euros per year: similar to the terms offered to his predecessor, Canadian specialist Glen Hanlon. Krikunov is obliged to remain in Belarus for 200 days each year and must organise training for the national squad, while monitoring all clubs for potential candidates. Club coaches will be encouraged to liaise with the national team, to ensure that the best talent does not go unmissed.
On signing his contract, Mr. Krikunov thanked Belarus for placing trust in him. He notes that he’ll retire from coaching on the conclusion of this task, having first begun his career in the late 1980s. He promises to work his hardest to prepare the squad for what lies ahead.
Vladimir Krikunov played with Dinamo Minsk until moving to coaching the team (from 1985 to 1991). In 1990, Dinamo attained its best result in the Soviet Union Championship, being ranked 10th. Mr. Krikunov has also coached the national teams of Slovenia, Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as clubs from these countries. He was most recently working for Neftekhimik, from Nizhnekamsk.
Mr. Krikunov holds the title of Honoured Coach of Belarus and Russia for his contribution to ice hockey.