Top Russian ice hockey team names son of Putin’s close friend as new head coach

Boris Rotenberg, one of Russia’s richest businessmen and a close friend of Vladimir Putin, can boast another achievement this week: his son Roman was just named the head coach of St. Petersburg’s top ice hockey team, SKA. Roman Rotenberg has never served as a head coach before, and he’s never played hockey at a professional level, but he’s now at the helm of one of the Kontinental Hockey League’s wealthiest teams, reports Radio Svoboda.

Owned by the Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, SKA’s president and board chairman is Gennady Timchenko, another billionaire with close personal ties to President Putin. In a public announcement, the team described Rotenberg’s appointment as “improving staff management.” The team’s former head coach, Valery Bragin (who also helps coach Russia’s national ice hockey team), will remain at SKA in another role.

Last September, 40-year-old Roman Rotenberg told the sports channel Match TV that he’s watched 800 hockey games since 2014 and considers this to be “serious experience.”

Roman Rotenberg also serves as the vice president of Russia’s Ice Hockey Federation, where his uncle Arkady Rotenberg chairs the board of directors.

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