Mike Keenan’s long and winding head-coaching career will now include a stop in China.
Keenan, who ended the Rangers’ 54-year Stanley Cup drought as head coach in 1994, has been hired to coach Chinese team Kunlun Red Star of the Russian KHL. Kunlun plays in Beijing and will be entering its second season in the KHL. The team was founded as an expansion franchise prior to the 2016-17 season.
Keenan had joined Kunlun as a technical development advisor “a few weeks ago,” according to Philly.com, before being signed as head coach. He previously served as head coach for Metallurg Magnitogorsk for two seasons, leading the squad to its first-ever KHL championship in 2013-14. He was fired from that role in October.
Kunlun was established as a means for China to start developing players for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The country will field a hockey team at the event for the first time. Despite having a number of foreign players on the Kunlun roster, Keenan has been instructed to give at least five Chinese players regular ice time during the season.
“Iron Mike” Keenan coached eight teams over his 25 years in the NHL, including the Rangers. He led the Flyers from 1984 to 1988, twice reaching the Stanley Cup Final. He was at the helm for the Blackhawks when they reached the Cup Final in 1992. He won the Cup with the Rangers in his only season in New York. He also had stops in St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, Florida and Calgary before making the jump to Russia.
Keenan is the only coach to win championships in both the NHL and KHL.
Published at Thu, 16 Mar 2017 20:44:45 +0000