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Jim Koleff passes away

- Davide Tuniz

At 54 former HC Lugano player and coach lost his battle against cancer

Today in Lausanne Jim Koleff passed away after a long battle versus cancer.
Koleff, from Hamilton, Ontario, arrived in Europe in 1977 after some excellent seasons in defunct IHL and a draft for Chicago Blackhawks in 1973. After a year in Gardena (Italy) he moved in Switzerland where his career reachs the top in HC Lugano.
He began his coach - previously was team manager - career replacing Swedish Mats Waltin at Lugano's bench, where he won Swiss League in 1999, leading "bianconeri" at Euro League Final Four, after notables victories vs Dynamo Moscow and Nurnberg Ice Tigers.
After 2 final series lost against ZSC Lions, in 2003 Koleff were fired by Lugano and replaced by Larry Huras.
After an experience at SCL Tigers he landed in Lausanne were, despite a painful relegation, as coach and then GM he try to give financial stability at club to come back at elite level. To complete his plan he entered in Lausanne's board of directors, position conserved despite the testicles' cancer come back in 2008 after two successfull therapies in 1994 and 2002.
As Team Canada's coach he won 2006 Spengler Cup and in last year's Cup, in his last coaching charge, he was assistant coach

Story added on 2nd November 2008 at 18:34 GMT
Story submitted by: Davide Tuniz.

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