The Junior Hockey League announces the coaching staff of Team West for the Challenge Cup, which is to be held in Tula on December 3, 2023.
Yury Navarenko (Mikhailov Academy) has been named the head coach of Team West, he will be assisted by Yegor Bashkatov (Almaz) and Andrei Mikhalyov (Dinamo-Shinnik).
The League has picked the coaches based on their teams’ performance in 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons. The coaching staff will select the best players of the conference, who will try to give Team West the first win since 2019.
Yury Navarenko has been coaching Mikhailov Academy since July 2022. In the 2022/23 season, his team made their first playoff appearance that allowed them to make it to the Gold Division which they have been leading in the 2023/24 season. The Tula team scored points in each of the ten games of the regular season. Before joining Mikhailov Academy, Navarenko worked for Krylya Sovetov and coached, among others, Spartak defenseman-to-be Daniil Ivanov and top goal scorer of the 2022/23 JHL season Alexander Morozov.
Yegor Bashkatov stepped behind the bench for Almaz in December 2022. In the 2023/24 season, the Cherepovets team is ranked second in the Gold Division of the Western Conference. In the JHL he worked with future KHL players such as Andrei Altybarmakyan (Lada), Vasily Glotov (SKA), Ruslan Pedan (Vityaz), Nikita Dynyak (Ak Bars). Bashkatov is a medalist of the World and European Championships as a member of the USSR junior and U18 teams. As a coach, he won the Petrov Cup with Dynamo SPb in the VHL, was a member of the coaching staff of Sochi, and worked for Spartak (KHL) in the 2022/23 season.
Former player of Minsk Dinamo and the Belarusian national team Andrei Mikhalyov has been the head coach of Dinamo-Shinnik since the team returned to the JHL in 2022. In his debut season, the team made the play-in tournament. Current Minsk Dynamo players Vadim Moroz, Konstantin Volochko, Timofei Kovgorenya, Miroslav Mikhalyov, Daniil Sotishvili were coached by Mikhalyov. In the 2023/24 season, Dinamo-Shinnik is having a strong lead in the Silver Division, and Daniil Lipsky became the League’s top scorer at month-end September.
Yury Navarenko, Mikhailov Academy head coach:
– I am looking forward to the Challenge Cup being a great junior hockey festival, I expect bright emotions from the participants and a win from Team West! I am sure that our coaching staff will be on the same page. I am very glad that the game will be hosted by Tula. Hockey in that region is developing at a pace to be envied, and it is really nice that Tula fans will see this event with their own eyes. It will boost motivation of local boys from the B.P. Mikhailov Hockey Academy. The atmosphere will be amazing, there is no doubt about it!
Yegor Bashkatov, Almaz head coach:
– I was surprise yet very pleased to be picked. I am grateful to the management of the League for their trust. The Challenge Cup is an opportunity to communicate with colleagues and work with the best players of the League. Yury Navarenko and Andrei Mikhalyov are very good coaches, I will be glad to exchange experience with them. Tula has become an important location for Russian hockey. It is no wonder that this city was chosen to host the Challenge Cup. They have great infrastructure, very ambitious organization. I think that players selected for the Challenge Cup understand that it shows coaches’ appreciation. Participation of a coach or players in such a game enhances the prestige of the entire organization. Severstal management contribute greatly for the JHL team to be fully integrated into the vertical of the club. Therefore, I believe credit for my participation goes to all my colleagues, as well as the coaches of the main team.
Andrei Mikhalyov, Dinamo-Shinnik head coach:
– I am really pleased that the League has given me an opportunity to coach during this hockey festival. I’m looking forward to positive emotions and a beautiful game. Challenge Cup games are always notable for physicality, teams are expected to score many goals. I have known Yury Navarenko for a long time, back from those days when we played in the Belarusian Extraleague. I expect working with my colleagues to be a great experience. It is an opportunity to prove myself, see how other coaches work and exchange experience. Yes, it’s difficult to work out some set plays in the course of three days, basically we will have to do things on the fly, but still it’s going to be an interesting experience. I like Tula. It is the city where we played our first JHL game in the 2022/23 season. Great arena, great fans – I’m sure everything will be cool.
Tula becomes the host city for Junior Hockey League Challenge Cup for the first time. The event will be held on December 3 within the framework of Fonbet All-Star Week. Women’s All-Star Game is scheduled for December 2. KHL Skills competition and All-Star Game will be hosted by new SKA-Arena in Saint Petersburg on December 9 and 10.
The coaching staff for Team East will be announced on October 6.