Update: Fleming’s firing has been confirmed by TSN.
Russian web sites Sports.ru and Championat.ru are reporting that Wayne Fleming has been dismissed from his position as head coach of Avangard Omsk. The former Calgary Flames assistant coach failed to return to his post behind the bench following the second intermission of Avangard’s game against Vityaz Chekov on Thursday and did not participate in the post-game press conference. Senior coach Igor Nikitin, who coached the Hawks to a 5-game winning streak in an interim role prior to Fleming’s hiring in late September, took over in Fleming’s absence on Thursday. The team responded, bouncing back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Anton Kuryanov.
According to Sports.ru correspondent Alexander Lyutkova “the question of Wayne Fleming’s dismissal from the post of head coach of Avangard Omsk has already been decided.” The article also mentions that Czech forward Pavel Rosa, who did not play in Thursday’s game and has been in and out of the Avangard line up throughout the season, may also be leaving the team. Championat.ru confirms the report on Fleming, adding that former HK MVD and Sibir Novosibirsk coach Andrei Khomutov is already under consideration for Fleming’s role: “According to Championat.ru, confirming the resignation of Avangard head coach Wayne Fleming has already taken place, Avangard is considering Andrei Khomutov as the candidate for his place in the leadership of Avangard.”
In a separate episode of the Avangard soap opera, former Hawk goaltender John Grahame, who was released by the team amid allegations of alcoholism following a trip to a Russian drunk tank after getting picked up by police outside a club in October, plans to return to Russia on January 14th to appeal. Grahame, who spoke to ESPN’s Scott Burnside on Wednesday, would not discuss the details of the case prior to his appeal, but told Burside that the allegations were “100 percent false.”
According to a source familiar with the incident, Grahame was arrested with a group of men at a Russian club. While in custody Grahame was reportedly told he could obtain his freedom from jail by signing a document that annulled his contract. Grahame refused and was ultimately released, the source said.
KHL officials have confirmed a hearing will take place, but would not comment on the specifics of the case.
Thanks to reader Ruthe for the heads up on the Grahame article.
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