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Koleff names his own replacement

Koleff will remain in overall charge as Lugano's general manager Keystone Archive

Lugano ice hockey club's general manager, Jim Koleff, has decided to step down from his post as first team trainer, appointing the former Russian international Sinetula Biljaletdinov, as his own successor.

Koleff’s decision had been widely expected following the team’s disappointment in finishing as league runners-up for the last two seasons.

Biljaletdinov, who has signed a two-year contract at the Ticinese club, was a member of the highly successful former Soviet Union team, winning six world championships along with a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics.

From 1993 to 1997 the 45-year-old Russian was assistant trainer to Koleff’s good friend Andy Murry with the Winnipeg Jets, during which time Koleff and Biljaltdinov met for the first time.

“I got to know him when I was in Winnipeg for ten days, before I went to manage Zug,” Koleff recalls. “He is a earnest, hard-working guy, who makes a lot of demands. He is also very experienced and likes his teams to play a modern style of hockey.”

Most recently, Biljaletdinov was responsible for youth development with the Chicago Blackhawks and also assisted with coaching the Russian national side.

Koleff also gave a helping hand on Friday to those worried about how to pronounce the new man’s name. Throughout his introduction, Koleff referred to the new trainer simply as “Billi”.

swissinfo with agencies

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