The Russian entry to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, will feature many familiar faces on the ice. Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy were named as the first three players on the roster earlier this month, with many more NHL talents to come. Those familiar faces won’t stop on the roster though, as the coaching staff and front office are also filled with names many North American hockey fans will know.
Ilya Kovalchuk has been named general manager of the squad, according to KHL reporter Gillian Kemmerer. He joins head coach Alexei Zhamnov, as well as assistants Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Kudashov, and Evgeni Nabokov on the quest for Olympic gold.
Kovalchuk, 38, spent last season in the KHL playing for Avangard Omsk when he failed to find an NHL deal. Despite being very open about his desire to win a Stanley Cup before he retired, he was forced to settle for another Gagarin Cup championship, his third in an outstanding career. One of the most impressive goal-scoring talents in NHL history, he’ll now start a new chapter in the front office, trying to help his country win another Olympic gold. Kovalchuk was the tournament MVP in 2018 when the Russians won, though no NHL players were eligible to attend that event.