International Ice Hockey Federation

Latvia names new U18 coach

Latvia names new U18 coach

Smirnovs succeeds Miluns, who leads U20 team

Published 28.11.2016 16:41 GMT+1 | Author Martin Merk
Latvia names new U18 coach
Eriks Miluns behind the bench of the Latvian team at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Grand Forks, USA. Photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Igors Smirnovs was named new head coach of the Latvian U18 national team and will lead the sqaud at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Slovakia.

Eriks Miluns will coach the Latvian U20 national team for the remainder of the season after having started with the team in summer and will also be the team’s head coach at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, 26 December – 5 January.

His position was formally approved by the board of the Latvian Hockey Federation. At the same time Igors Smirnovs was named his successor at the U18 national team.

The U20 national team will prepare for the World Juniors with a Four Nations Tournament in Austria, 3-5 November, where it will play Austria, Belarus and Denmark. On 7 and 8 December the Latvians will play two exhibition games against Kazakhstan in Riga before travelling to Canada where more games are planned before the start of the World Juniors.

Latvia will start the tournament in Group B in Toronto with Russia, the United States, Canada and Slovakia as opponents.

For the last three years Miluns has been coaching the U18 national team which he led to the top division in 2014. In 2015 and 2016 he led Latvians to relegation-round wins and ninth-place finishes. Next year it will be the fourth time in history Latvia will be represented in the top division of all men’s hockey categories.

At the U18 national team he will be succeeded by Igors Smirnovs, who is also coaching SK Riga 18, a club team mainly consisting of junior players that competes in the top senior league of the country. He will see familiar faces on the team having previously coached the U17 and U16 national teams.

Latvia will compete in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia, 13-23 April. The Latvians are seeded in Group A in Poprad alongside Finland, Canada, Slovakia and Switzerland.


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