Belarusian national team get new head coach

The Executive Committee of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation (BIHF) on Monday appointed Eduard Zankavets to coach Team Belarus at next month's world championship in Germany, BelaPAN reports.

The former Dinamo Minsk and Team Belarus forward is currently an assistant coach at SKA St.Petersburg. He assisted former Belarus head coach Glen Hanlon at several world championships.

The appointment was made at the suggestion of recently elected BIHF Chairman Yawhen Vorsin.

Mr. Zankavets, 40, will be assisted by Alyaksandr Andryyewski, Andrey Husaw, Uladzimir Tsyplakov and, probably, Canada's Dave Lewis.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Vorsin said that Team Belarus would be tasked with reaching the top eight at the coming tournament.

Mikhail Zakharaw, who led Team Belarus at February's Vancouver Olympics, had not been considered as a candidate for the job as he has contracted to coach the Ukrainian national team at the World Championship in Division I in the Netherlands between April 19 and 25, Mr. Vorsin explained.

He said that it would be senseless to invite a foreign coach for a championship lasting just 10 to 15 days.

"We must place our stake on our players. Why should a properly trained Belarusian guy be worse than some foreigner? What, are we weak or sick?" Mr. Vorsin said.