Coyotes' Smith resigns to coach Russian Elite team

Updated: April 10, 2007, 12:27 PM ET
Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes associate coach Barry Smith resigned on Tuesday to become head coach and director of operations for a team in the Russian Elite League.

Smith will head operations for SKA St. Petersburg.

He has held the Coyotes' post since the team hired Wayne Gretzky as coach two years ago.

Smith, 55, has contributed to five Stanley Cup championships in his NHL career. He was associate coach for Detroit for 11 seasons before coming to Arizona. Before that, he was an assistant for three seasons at Pittsburgh and three at Buffalo.

Smith will be an associate coach for the U.S. team at the world championships in Russia April 27-May 13.

He has previous international coaching experience in Sweden, Norway and Italy.

"Before it gets too late in the tooth for me, I thought I'd try it and see how well I can do with it," Smith told the East Valley Tribune on Monday. "It's a situation which was very attractive because it's not just to be a coach but also director of the whole hockey operations."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press