The Czech national hockey team is now officially looking for a new coach. On Monday, a day after the Winter Olympics ended, Alois Hadamczik announced he was stepping down, in large part, he said, after coming under fire from the media. It was the team’s exit in the quarter-finals at the games which arguably sealed his fate.
It was very likely that coach Alois Hadamczik would have been recalled from his post anyway, after a meeting of Czech Ice Hockey Association officials, but on Monday he beat them to the punch. In an interview for a commercial broadcaster, Hadamczik made clear he had enough, complaining of media “attacks” against his person. He was stepping down. After speaking with the coach and accepting his decision, the chairman of the Czech hockey association, Tomáš Kral, told Czech Radio more.
“I thought we would discuss the Olympics and developments at a meeting on Wednesday, but his decision came earlier. On the whole I understand why, I understand his reasons. Now we have to move forward.”
Mr Král stressed that of it had come to it, the final decision on Mr Hadamczik’s professional future would have been up to 11 functionaries on the executive board and not him alone. But he suggested that the coach’s departure was probably the right step.
“I think I would have recommended he be recalled but in the end the decision was his… things, in any case, are settled now.”
As coach, Hadamczik was not without success: he won two bronze medals and one silver at the World Championships and the bronze at the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006. But the big prize, gold, always eluded him. Fans must have hoped this year the team would somehow squeak past the US in the quarter-final and keep medal hopes alive, but there was little real chance: in their match-up the USA were flawless.
Now the Czech hockey association will have to think hard about who to hire for the post. One name already being considered, is Slavia’s Vladimír Růžička, a man with a golden touch: in 2005 and 2010 (first preceding and then succeeding Hadamczik) Růžička saw the Czechs win gold at the worlds. Clearly a lot riding on the decision on who will be the next coach: it is lost on no one that next year Prague and Ostrava are hosting the Ice Hockey World Championships: whoever follows Hadamczik will be under even more pressure to turn around the largely veteran Czech squad and win.