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Russia hires Oleg Znarok as new hockey coach

MOSCOW (AP) — Oleg Znarok has been hired as Russia's new hockey coach, taking over a team that failed to win a medal at the Sochi Olympics.

Russia's hockey federation says Znarok was appointed Wednesday after a meeting with Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. Federation president Vladislav Tretiak, the Russian goaltending great, says Znarok "is an experienced specialist who has proven that he's capable to lead his team to victory."

The 51-year-old Znarok, a former Latvia national team coach, has been coaching Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. He replaces Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who was fired after Russia lost 3-1 to Finland in the quarterfinals in Sochi. Winning the hockey gold had been one of Russia's top goals for the Olympics.

Znarko's first job is to prepare the Russian team for the world championships in May in Belarus.

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