Bob Hartley, the 2015 Jack Adams Trophy winner, will be named the head coach of the Latvian national team, according to Aivis Kalniņš.
According to Kalniņš, all that’s left to do is sign the contract. In an interesting note, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector notes that Hartley was chosen over finalists Patrick Roy and Ron Rolston.
The legendary Avalanche goaltender resigned as the team’s coach in August over disagreements on player decisions like the Nick Holden trade. Rolston has previously coached college hockey, several AHL teams, and the Buffalo Sabres.
Hartley, a veteran of nearly 1000 NHL games, most recently coached the Calgary Flames, but was fired last summer after missing the playoffs. His Jack Adams trophy came following the 2014-15 season where the Flames rode unsustainable percentages and got to the second round of the playoffs. Hartley has previously won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.
Hartley is a good coach to motivate Latvian players, who will have to out-work their opponents in order to have a chance against highly-skilled international teams. Former Latvian coach Ted Nolan and goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis nearly managed to beat Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics; Canada’s 2-1 win was one of the most exciting games of the entire tournament. Latvia was able to score on Canada, which is something that international powerhouses USA and Sweden was not able to do.