Ice Hockey UK’s Great Britain Programme Board would like to announce that Slava Koulikov has been appointed as the new head coach of GB Under-20s.

The 38-year-old Peterborough Phantoms coach steps up from his role as assistant of the U20s and has been part of the GB programme for the past two years, winning a bronze medal in the 2016 Under-20 World Championship Division 1 Group B.

Koulikov had an extensive playing career in the UK and spent the majority of his time with Hull Stingrays, but also had stints with Milton Keynes, Dundee, Solihull, Basingstoke and Manchester.

His first coaching role was a player-coach position at Slough Jets before taking over at Peterborough in December 2013.

He led the Phantoms to the EPL playoff title in 2014-15 and was also named as the EPL’s Coach of the Year in the same season.

Koulikov said: “I am very honoured to be selected as head coach of GB Under-20s.

“There is a lot of work ahead and we have set high short and long-term goals.

“I always challenge to be the best and am really looking forward to it.

“I would like to thank Tom Watkins for first bringing me into the GB programme and also to Tony Hand and the board for trusting me in the new head coach role.”

IHUK national development head coach, Tony Hand, said: “Slava is very well respected within the UK game and is a perfect fit for this position.

“He already has head coach experience in the UK and knows the GB junior programme from his assistant coaching role with the under-20s in the past two years.

“Our ethos is not just to develop players but to develop coaches as well and we have some very exciting announcements on the horizon for the GB coaching set-up.

“I would like to thank Tommy Watkins and Paul Heavy for their commitment to the programme over the last few years and for all they brought to the GB Under-20s.

“I would also like to say thanks to Paul Hayes and David Hand for their valuable support in the interview process.

“We are freshening up the GB junior programme and these are exciting times ahead.”

Photo credit: Tom Scott.