Fresh from having staved off relegation at the 2012 World Championships Division I Group B, Lithuania was then in the hunt for a new head coach to replace Sergei Borisov.
Lithuania's long-time NHLers Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus will for the first time play together for their native country at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.
Photo: Sarunas Mazeika Two years ago, on a balmy spring evening in Croatia's capital Zagreb, an experimental and youthful Lithuania came within a regulation time goal from winning a sensational gold at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships Division I Group B.
Instead in Lithuania, we now have three to five good players in each team, but as they are not being challenged their level is now going down instead of up between the ages of 12-16," said Haake, who also has started to feel the effect of this in certain positions at a national team level.
"The problem for Lithuanian hockey for the near the future is that we don't have defencemen.
Bielefeld-born Haake's international coaching career started as a 28-year-old assistant coach of what was then West Germany's U18 national team at a European Championship in France 1974.