RIGA – Two former Latvian national team players and Olympians will coach the Latvian U18 national team next season. The Latvian Hockey Federation today named Olegs Sorokins as new head coach of the team and Herberts Vasiljevs as assistant coach.
Sorokins will replace Igors Smirnovs, who coached the team in the past season. Latvia finished the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Slovakia in last place and was relegated. The team will battle for promotion back to the elite level at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group A on home ice in Riga against Kazakhstan, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Slovenia.
The 43-year-old former defenceman Sorokins represented Latvia in seven World Championships and in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He played high-level hockey until 2010 with Dinamo Riga but continued in Italy, Kazakhstan and Latvia afterwards. In 2014 he started working as an assistant coach for Mogo Riga while still playing and has been the team’s head coach during the last two years.
Vasiljevs represented Latvia in 11 World Championships and three Olympic Winter Games. His last tournament was the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The 41-year-old centre ended his career as a player this year after his 12th season with Krefeld Pinguine of the German DEL, in most of the years as team captain.