Over recent years, the national team has been coached by Glen Hanlon and Kurt Fraser but went to the Olympics in Vancouver with Mikhail Zakharov. At the last World Championship, Belarus’ hockey squad struggled to remain with the elite under the guidance of Eduard Zankovets. After his dismissal, the Belarusian Hockey Federation sought a candidate to fill the honourable position: a three year contract with Kari Heikkila is the result. He’ll train the team for the Olympics in Sochi and for the 2014 World Championship — to be hosted by Belarus.
In 2004, Mr. Heikkila was the first Finnish coach in the Russian Championship, heading Lokomotiv Yaroslavl from 2004-2005, 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. He spent last season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, which reached the finals of the Gagarin Cup. He held unusual twice daily training sessions during the pre-season and is known for his tough discipline — due to which several players left the team.
“We’re happy to have such a top level coach for our squad. Before signing the contract, we held detailed negotiations, which led to mutually beneficial co-operation,” emphasises the Chairman of the Belarusian Hockey Federation, Yevgeny Vorsin.