Belarus Men’s National Team played its first official international game against team Ukraine in Minsk on November 7, 1992 and lost – 1:4. Then our country hosted the IIHF World Championship qualifying tournament. Apart from Belarus and Ukraine it also featured team Kazakhstan. Despite a victory in the second game versus the Kazakh team with the score 3:1, Belarus failed to promote to the World Championship Division “C”, having occupied only 3rd place because of the worst goals’ difference.
Belarus team’s way to the top division of the IIHF World Championship lasted for 6 years.
After that in its 20 years’ history Belarus had more ups than downs. The team took part in fifteen top-level IIHF World Championships (1998-2001, 2003, 2005-till now). The best achievement so far has been 6th place at the 2006 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia.
Team Belarus also took part in 3 Olympic Games (1998, 2002, 2010). It achieved its best Olympic result in Salt Lake City in 2002 when team Belarus sensationally occupied 4th place, having claimed victory over team Sweden in the quarterfinal with the score 4:3.
At the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk Belarusian team occupied 7th place.
Team Belarus has been coached mainly by Belarusian and Russian specialists. There were only two North American head coaches and one from Finland in the history of the team. Glen Hanlon (acting head coach from June 2013) led the team in 2005-2006 and 2009, while Kurt Fraser was the head of the bench in 2007 and 2008. The Finnish coach Kari Heikkila led the team in 2011-2012. From November 2012 till June 2013 the National Team was led by Belarusian specialist Andrei Skabelka.
In June 2013 Glen Hanlon made a comeback to the national team of Belarus as a head coach. The Canadian replaced Andrei Skabelka after 2013 IIHF WM in Sweden and Finland, where the team occupied only 14th place (for the third time in succession). The coaching staff, which also included two assistants – Eduard Zankovets and Oleg Mikulchik, had to face a serious challenge - successful performance at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, which was held from 9 to 25 May 2014 in Minsk. The task was brilliantly fulfilled with team Belarus finishing 7th in the final standings. However, due to family reasons Glen Hanlon had to resign right after the 2014 IIHF WM.
25th September 2014 Vladimir Krikunov became the Head Coach of the Belarusian National Team for the second time. After almost two months of cooperation, the contract was terminated by the parties' mutual consent.
During that period team took part in the «EuroChallenge» tournament (Ljubljana, Slovenia):
06.11.2014 Austria – Belarus – 3:2.
07.11.2014 Slovenia – Belarus – 3:0.
08.11.2014 Belarus – Japan – 2:4.
In a month, after Vladimir Krikunov’s leaving, the team was headed by Dave Lewis. A number of distinguished experts became a part of the North American’s coaching staff: Oleg Antonenko, Aleksandr Zhyrik, Craig Woodcroft – coah assistants, Michael Lehner and Andrei Mezin - goalie coaches, Vladimir Bure became strength and conditining coach.
Belarus repeated its success achieved in Minsk and with 14 points occupied the 7th place in the 2015 IIHF WM final standings. It allowed Team Belarus to improve its position in the IIHF World Ranking and become the 9th country in the list.
The results of 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia were not very very successful. Winning two games, Team Belarus finished in the 12th place. Today Team Belarus occupied the 9th place in the IIHF World Ranking.