Oleg Znarok (RIA Novosti)
The new Russian national hockey team coach says fans "won't be ashamed" of the style of play under his guidance, a thinly veiled dig at his predecessor who oversaw a humiliating quarterfinal elimination at the Sochi Olympics.
Latvian specialist Oleg Znarok was unveiled as the new coach this week after taking Dynamo Moscow to back-to-back Gagarin Cup titles in the KHL.
He replaced Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who was fired after Russia's 3-1 defeat to Finland in Sochi, slammed by President Vladimir Putin as "a serious disappointment."
"I can say that no one will be ashamed of the Russian national team," the 51-year-old said at a news conference at RIA Novosti. "The guys are going to fight to the end, I guarantee it. Even if the team loses, we need to lose well."
Znarok's deal covers the next Olympic cycle, which culminates with the Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea in 2018, the team's new general manager Andrei Safronov told R-Sport.
His first job will be to prepare the team for the May 9-23 world championships in Minsk, the capital of neighboring Belarus.
"We should win the world championships," Znarok said. "Other plans simply don't exist."
Znarok also coached the Latvian national team for six years, with a seventh-placed finished at the world championships his best result.
Russian-born Znarok played for Latvia after the Soviet breakup and then obtained German citizenship after appearing for Freiburg between 1995 and 2000.
Published by exclusive arrangement with Around the Rings’ Sochi 2014 media partner RIA-Novosti.
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