Vancouver Canucks expected to hire former KHL head coach

Brand-new member of the Canucks Ilya Vorobyov coaching Russia in 2019. (Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
Brand-new member of the Canucks Ilya Vorobyov coaching Russia in 2019. (Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images) /

Early Thursday morning there were reports that the Vancouver Canucks would be bringing a fresh face into the organization. According to HockeyNewsHub via Match TV, the Canucks would be hiring Ilya Vorobyov, formerly the head coach of Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.

The report states that Vorobyov will work with the Canucks for their next three home games, which will be played against the St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, and Nashville Predators. The 48-year-old is not expected to have a coaching role, but rather one in the front office and behind the scenes, where he’ll be analyzing video and assisting with team tactics and strategies.

Lastly, there’s been no determination on whether or not Vorobyov will serve in this role permanently rather than this temporary basis.

Update: a Canucks spokesperson told Rob Williams of the Daily Hive Vancouver that they are not hiring Vorobyov, but he will be attending some games.

Who is the Canucks’ new assistant?

Vorobyov spent the last four years as the head coach of Metallurg, and prior to that he coached Russia in the Euro Hockey Tour, World Cup, and in international competitions, as well as coaching SKA St. Petersburg for a one-year stint. In his playing days, the former Russian bench boss spent 12 years in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), where he scored 120 goals, 160 assists, and 280 points in 404 games.

Vorobyov has a ton of NHL connections from his eight years of head coaching experience, including coaching current Canucks Andrei Kuzmenko and Vasily Podkolzin during his time with SKA in the 2018-19 season. He’s also coached other NHLers like Igor Shesterkin, Artem Zub, Vladislav Gavrikov, Nikolai Knyzhov, David Rundblad, Alex Barabanov, Pavel Datsyuk, Nikita Gusev, Kirill Marchenko, Nail Yakupov, and more.

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It’s unclear how this came about or why the Canucks decided to hire him, but Vorobyov brings a wealth of experience and an NHL pedigree to the team’s staff. It’s certainly possible his connections to Kuzmenko and Podkolzin played a factor in his arrival, too.