It is not for nothing that the Americans once nicknamed Andrei Nazarov the “Russian bear.” It’s not just about the national stereotype: our forward became famous in the NHL mainly because of his fighting nature. The powerful player easily destroyed his opponents, often sparking full-blown brawls on the ice.
True, when the Russian’s career reached a new level, his distinctive qualities began to hinder him. As a coach, Nazarov more than once found himself in unpleasant situations precisely because of his impulsiveness: in his homeland he will no longer be called a bear, but “Dirty Naz.”
One of the most hateful stories happened to an SKA specialist.
SKA’s unexpected election
In the summer of 2015, the SKA reached a historic peak: under the leadership of the legendary Vyacheslav Bykov, the army team had just won its first Gagarin Cup. The following season, the Club’s goals were no less ambitious, but from the beginning not everything went according to plan. Bykov unexpectedly left his position, putting his coaching career on hold, and the St. Petersburg team had to urgently find a replacement for him.
The election of the leadership fell on an unobvious candidate – Andrei Nazarov. The 41-year-old specialist was at that time coaching Barys, of which he was to be part of the base club of the Kazakhstan national team, which he also managed. However, the Russian did not achieve great success: before moving to SKA, he did not have any trophies or other significant successes in the field of training.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
Soon the bosses of the St. Petersburg club regretted their decision. The formation of a new coaching staff in the team was completed at the end of July, culminating in a blatant incident that could not be hidden from the press. During one of his meetings with his colleagues, Nazarov… literally attacked the club doctor with his fists.
“Five blows to the head”
The victim of the attack was Yegor Kozlov, 33 years old. The head doctor of the SKA, who had just been recognized as the best doctor of the season in the KHL, did not expect any surprises at the meeting with the new team leader. However, at the general meeting, held in the presence of the club’s general director, Vadim Fisko, and general director, Andrei Tochitsky, Nazarov suddenly announced to the specialist his dismissal.
The coach’s statement took Kozlov by surprise. The doctor tried to find out the reasons why Nazarov did not want to cooperate with him, hearing in response that he was “knocked down” for the same league award that he allegedly received undeservedly. At that point, according to the doctor, Fisko entered the conversation and offered options for further cooperation. Kozlov took some time to think and noted that he was disappointed with the club’s decision…
Photo source: HC SKA
This passage seemed to infuriate the coach. “Are you disappointed, rooster!?” Nazarov exclaimed angrily, peppering his comment with several more curses, and then attacked the offending specialist.
– Nazarov ran around the table. I continued sitting still. And I didn’t even imagine that there could be aggression. At the last moment he covered himself. But he hit me on the head with his hands about five times,” Kozlov told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
According to the doctor, the coach kicked him in the heart area, after which the SKA general director had to take him away from the victim.
Club management later denied reports of the incident. The general director said that “nothing like that happened,” and the coach himself described the news of the doctor’s beating as “someone’s joke,” while thanking the journalists for the “PR.” Then Kozlov himself rushed to restore justice, speaking in the press with a detailed story about the incident.
As it turned out, after defeating Nazarov, the doctor needed hospitalization. His colleagues diagnosed him with very serious health problems: a concussion, a closed head injury and a chest contusion. He had to spend several days in the hospital; during this time he even managed to testify before the district police officer.
Kozlov threatened to sue, but it appears the matter never went to trial. The story was soon hushed up and Nazarov himself was fired in October, having won 8 of 22 games at the helm of SKA. Kozlov returned to the St. Petersburg team the following summer and, according to official data, to this day works as the club’s head doctor.