International Ice Hockey Federation

Ciger for Slovakia

Ciger for Slovakia

New head coach, GM named

Published 12.04.2023 16:33 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Ciger for Slovakia
Zdeno Ciger was a long-time member of the Slovak national team and also worked for the team as an assistant coach in 2007. Photo: Dominic Ebenbichler / HHOF-IIHF Images
Zdeno Ciger was named new head coach of the Slovak national team. He will replace Vladimir Vujtek, who left to coach the Czechs in the upcoming season.

After five years with foreign coaches, the native of Martin will be the first Slovak coaching the national team since Jan Filc in 2010.

The 45-year-old has represented Slovakia and Czechoslovakia in eight IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships winning three bronze medals and also played at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He represented Slovakia in 106 international games (34 goals) and Czechoslovakia in 43 games (13 goals).

The member of the Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame split his career between playing for Slovak teams Dukla Trencin in the Czechoslovak league and later for Slovan Bratislava in the Slovak league, and playing in the NHL where he wore the jerseys of the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning during seven years.

After ending his career as a player with Slovan Bratislava in 2006 he was coaching the team for several years before being replaced during the 2010/2011 season. With Slovan he won four championships as a player and two as a head coach.

During the 2006/2007 season he was also assistant to Julius Supler at the Slovak national team when Slovakia played at the 2007 Worlds in Moscow and Mytishi. For his next World Championship Ciger will go back to Russia in 2016 where Slovakia will play Canada, Finland, the USA, Belarus, France, Germany and Hungary in Group B in St. Petersburg.

In the last four years it was rather quiet about Ciger, who was working on his own hockey academy before deciding to accept the top coaching position of his country.

The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation also announced that Robert Svehla will serve as General Manager of the national team.

Like Ciger, Svehla is a former player who started in the Czechoslovak era and made it to the NHL and international hockey. As a defenceman he played eight seasons for the Florida Panthers and one for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won Olympic bronze with Czechoslovakia in 1992 and represented Slovakia at the 1998 Olympics. He also won two bronze medals with Slovakia in his only World Championships in 1992 and 2003, and also played at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

After retiring he was working as an assistant coach for Frantisek Hossa at the Slovak national team at the 2005 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and he worked as the team leader of the U20 national team that surprised with a bronze-medal win at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The two men leading the national team will officially be presented to the media tomorrow in Bratislava. An interview will follow on


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