Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Dumped Russian Olympic Hockey Coach Returns to Domestic League

The coach who presided over Russia's hockey flop at last month's Sochi Olympics has rejoined his old team in the domestic Kontinental Hockey League, Ak Bars Kazan, the team said in a statement.

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, 58, immediately shouldered the blame for Russia's 3-1 quarterfinal defeat to eventual bronze medalist Finland, which prolonged the country's painful post-Soviet hockey gold drought.

Bilyaletdinov rose to prominence by guiding Ak Bars to the first two KHL championship titles in 2009 and 2010 as head coach. A statement published Thursday on the Ak Bars website said he returns as the club's vice president and general manager.

Despite the Sochi humiliation, Bilyaletdinov had sought reappointment, but did not have his contract renewed at an executive committee meeting of the Russian Hockey Federation on Wednesday.

Dynamo Moscow coach Oleg Znarok is in negotiations to succeed Bilyaletdinov as national team coach after taking Dynamo to back-to-back Gagarin Cup titles. If confirmed in the post, Znarok's first duty will be to prepare the team for the world championships running May 9-23 in Minsk, the capital of neighboring Belarus.

Ak Bars made the playoffs after finishing third in the Eastern Conference this season and faces Sibir Novosibirsk in the first round starting Saturday.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more