Mike Keenan fired by KHL's Kunlun Red Star
China-based team hired Stanley Cup, Gagarin Cup winner in March
Mike Keenan, the first coach to win both NHL and Kontinental Hockey League titles, was fired by the KHL's Kunlun Red Star on Sunday, less than a year after hiring him as the team's first coach.
The Beijing-based expansion team announced the decision on Sunday.
Kunlun Red Star announced today that Mike Keenan has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the team. He will remain with the organization as an Executive Member of the Kunlun Red Star International Advisory Board.—@KRSchina
Keenan ended the New York Rangers' 54-year wait for a Stanley Cup title in 1994 and led Metallurg Magnitogorsk to a Gagarin Cup in 2015, but the 68-year-old struggled with Kunlun. The team went 12-24 under his stewardship — including overtime and shootout wins and losses — and was mired in a nine-game losing streak at the time of his firing.
Former NHLer Bobby Carpenter took over as interim coach, guiding the team to its first win since Oct. 31. Kunlun currently sits in 11th place in the KHL's Eastern conference, 11 points outside of a playoff spot.
New day. New coach. New win! Red Star finally snap the skid and pick up their first victory since October, beating Amur 4-3 (OT). <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KRS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#KRS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UnitedWeWin?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UnitedWeWin</a> <a href="https://t.co/S2ql7sS5Hc">pic.twitter.com/S2ql7sS5Hc</a>—@KRSchina
Kunlun's aim is to develop Chinese players as the country builds a national team to compete at its first home Winter Olympics in 2022. Keenan was instructed to ensure at least five Chinese players get regular ice time on a roster dominated by foreign players.
With files from The Associated Press