Although calls to sort out the work and management of Latvian Ice Hockey Federation are heard more and more often and criticisms towards LHF President Kirov Lipman are head louder and louder, bookmakers doubt any changes can be expected for the near future.
Scandals, conflicts and public misunderstandings before major tournaments have become a tradition for Latvia’s ice hockey team. Those scandals are usually related to prize money, search for new coaches, failure of ice hockey players to appear for qualifications and other stories. Nevertheless, each tournament story is never complete, it seems, without Lipman ending up in the centre of attention.
This summer, there was a public conflict between him and the lead coach of the last team Leonid Beresnev.
Because of this conflict, Beresnev left right before the beginning of the qualification run for the Olympics. As reasons for his departure, the former coach mentioned unpaid salary and poor treatment by his employer. Lipman did not mix words and directly accused Beresnev in many ways during a special press-conference. He also said he views the coach’s departure and the scandal that followed as a special order from someone.
Some ice hockey fans responded to Lipman’s accusations with public calls for him to leave. Some had even tried to hang a poster asking Lipman to leave at the match of Latvia’s national hockey team at Arena Riga, but were asked to leave. Triobet bookmakers believe all this storm will lead to nothing – the possibility of Lipman leaving his post before the end of the year does not exceed 10%.
Such a ‘play’ for Lipman is very natural – putting himself and Latvia’s ice hockey as the victims and stomping a previously highly-praised person in the dirt. The same happened with Ted Nolan and Tom Cullen, as well as Oleg Znarok (it later turned out that Lipman took the credit for Znarok’s selection as coach for Russia’s ice hockey team), Curt Lindstrom and Harald Vasilyev.
Even putting aside personal disputes, scandals and Limpan’s grand announcements, Latvia’s ice hockey team has not been doing well lately. Ever since Ted Nolan Latvia’s team has not had a stable lead coach. Lipman could begin the search anew, because the contract with Vasilyev was only for the Olympic Games. It is expected that the ice hockey team will find out more about their new coach shortly before the world championship in April. Considering coach problems, it is no surprise Latvia’s team was left on the 13th place in the last two world championships.
Criticisms against Lipman have reached significant levels. But will they change anything? His term as President of LHF ends in 2018. A congress of LHF is planned to take place in October. Lipman will present his report and new LHF members will be approved. It is theoretically possible to add a vote of distrust toward Lipman to the agenda. It is unlikely that this will happen, however. Viesturs Koziols has told the media about his plans to try and change the management of LHF. These plans, however, do not provide for Lipman’s replacement.