MOSCOW, November 17 (R-Sport) - Struggling KHL team Atlant Moscow Region named Sergei Svetlov, an Olympic gold-medal winner with little previous top-level coaching experience, as its new head coach Saturday.
Atlant reached the Gagarin Cup final series two seasons ago but is now far outside the playoff places on an 11-game losing streak, with the team’s sporting director saying things can only get better under Svetlov.
“Everyone can see our results. It can’t be worse than it is now. That’s why we’re placing a lot of hope on his arrival,” director Andrei Popugaev told R-Sport.
Svetlov is best known for winning gold as a player with the Soviet Union at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.
His only previous KHL experience as head coach came in a three-month spell at Amur Khabarovsk in late 2010. He was also an assistant coach during Lada Tolyatti’s last season before dropping out of the KHL after the 2009-10 campaign.
Popugaev defended Svetlov’s suitability for the Atlant job , saying he had earned an A-grade coaching certificate in Germany.
“It’s very hard to get abroad. It’s not buying a diploma in some institute or other, but defending your coaching qualification,” he said.
The team had been without a permanent coach for almost a month since Janne Karlsson was fired October 21 after the team lost eight of its previous nine games.
Atlant is second from last in the KHL’s Western Conference, one point above last-placed Spartak Moscow and seven adrift of the last playoff place.
Atlant lost 2-0 to Slovan Bratislava on Friday.