Finnish coach Kari Heikkila has returned to the KHL with the league’s only Belarusian team, Dynamo Minsk, the club said Wednesday.
Heikkila will combine his duties as team coach with his role as coach of the Belarus national team, which he joined in August 2011.
“Of course I’m satisfied with this offer. I wanted to work at a club too. I agreed with the federation about this possibility,” Heikkila said in comments on the Dynamo Minsk website.
“I hope that this decision will benefit Belarusian hockey.”
The Finn replaces Czech coach Marek Sikora, who was sacked March 4 after the team lost 4-0 in the first round of the playoffs to eventual Gagarin Cup finalist Dynamo Moscow.
Heikkila was picked from a list of 15 candidates including 10 foreigners, Dynamo Minsk management said.
“The coach has massive authority and experience. We are impressed by his hard-working style, his approach to training and his attitude to the game,” Dynamo Minsk chairman Yuri Borodich said in a statement.
Heikkila is expected to take the team to the Western Conference semifinal next season, he said.
Dynamo Minsk’s only league honor remains the 2007 Belarusian title, although it won the Spengler Cup in 2009.