MINSK – The season for the Belarusian national team ended with a meeting and the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association and national coach Dave Lewis verbally agreeing on a contract extension.
“We originally signed for one year. At the final meeting I asked the team whether it wants to work with him. [The players] welcomed the future co-operation. After a thorough discussion with the coach we agreed on continuing working together. We plan on a three-year contract so that it will include the entire Olympic cycle,” BIHA President Igor Rachkovski said.
At the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Belarus reached the quarter-finals for the second consecutive time and moved up to ninth place in the World Ranking, which enables the Belarusians to host one of the three Final Olympic Qualification tournaments in Minsk next year in a group with Slovenia, Denmark and a qualifier.
At the press conference Rachkovski also announced the intention to work on a bid for the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship after hosting the event for the first time in Minsk in 2014.
For the U20 national team Pavel Perepekhin was confirmed as head coach. The 37-year-old led the team to the top division in his second season behind the bench and will continue his work at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland.
Perepekhin will also coach Belarusian club team Dynamo Bobruisk. The farm team of KHL club Dynamo Minsk will consist of many U20 players. It previously played in the top Russian junior league MHL but will now move to the Belarusian Extraliga to give the players the opportunity to compete in the top senior league of the country.
On the other hand the Belarusian Ice Hockey Association announced that the U18 national team will play in the Russian MHL. The team will be coached by Sergei Belov, who was coaching many of the same players on the U17 national team last season.