Lugano ice hockey club have fired their Russian trainer, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, after just a few months in charge and replaced him with former coach Jim Koleff.This content was published on December 6, 2001 - 17:30
Bilyaletdinov's dismissal comes after three straight losses for the team.
After a 6-2 defeat against Kloten on Tuesday, it became clear the trainer no longer had the support of his players. His position had already become shaky after Lugano recently failed to reach the Continental Cup finals, suffering elimination in the semi-final tournament in Italy.
Bilyaletdinov had signed a two-year contract with Lugano this summer, but his team have only 30 points to show from 27 games so far this season. He is the third top division coach to be fired this year, after Zurich's Larry Huras and Langnau's Vassily Tikonov.
Jim Koleff has already trained Lugano in the past. He spent the last four seasons at the helm, leading the team to the championship in 1999, and losing the title chase to Zurich in 2000 and 2001.
Koleff was the club's technical director since the beginning of the season. This is the second time he has stepped into the coach's job from that position.
In 1997, the Canadian, who had moved from Zug after a successful stint there, took over from Swede Mats Waltin after a disastrous start to the season.
swissinfo with agencies
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