International Ice Hockey Federation

Nazarov for Bykov

Nazarov for Bykov

Kazakhstan’s coach moves to St. Petersburg

Published 22.06.2015 16:47 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Nazarov for Bykov
After one year behind the bench of the Kazakh national team and Barys Astana, Andrei Nazarov got a two-year deal with KHL playoff champion SKA St. Petersburg. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
Andrei Nazarov will not lead the recently promoted Kazakh national team at the 2016 Worlds. He moves on to coach Gagarin Cup winner SKA St. Petersburg instead.

Nazarov will replace Vyacheslav Bykov, who led St. Petersburg to its first playoff title in history but recently decided to leave the club and join his family in Switzerland. He signed a two-year contract.

For Nazarov coaching one of the best teams in the country is another step up in his career. The former enforcer, who collected 1,409 penalty minutes in 571 NHL games, started his coaching career as a 32-year-old with his hometown team Traktor Chelyabinsk and later moved to Vityaz Podolsk, a club that in its early years in the KHL was more notorious for mass brawls than for anything else. Also due to that fact one Russian portal headlined his transfer to St. Petersburg as “devil in the cultural capital”.

However, after his years with Vityaz, Nazarov got to coach more skilled teams at Severstal Cherepovets and Donbass Donetsk. During his year in Ukraine he also coached the Ukrainian national team in the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A but later saw the end of his club team due to the armed conflict in the region. He then signed a contract with Kazakh KHL club Barys Astana and in April led the Kazakh national team to gold with a 5-0 record at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A and promotion to the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Russia.

“I will keep the best memories from working with Barys Astana and the Kazakh national team. I wish the national team to end the unpleasant tradition [of getting relegated straight after promotion] and stay with the elite nations,” Nazarov said, indicating that he won’t work in a dual role.

“I’m very pleased [to lead SKA] and grateful to Barys for the understanding. Working for a champions’ club is a great honour and huge responsibility. The task is to defend the Gagarin Cup and become Russian champion,” Nazarov said.

Nazarov has been welcomed to SKA with open arms, the club having praised his successes as a Russian coach with a modern approach. After winning the playoffs, SKA St. Petersburg hopes to become national champion for the first time ever. Because the KHL decided for 2014/2015 that the national champion will be determined by the regular season, that title went to CSKA Moscow instead.

A new coach for the Kazakh national team has not been named yet but today Yerlan Sagymbayev, a former national team player and coach, was promoted within Barys Astana to replace Nazarov as head coach.

 

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