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Time For A European Head Coach In The NHL?

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Rikard Gronborg believes it’s only a matter of time.

And with the disturbing crackling of the old boys coaching network in recent days, the most qualified coaching candidate outside of North America might be on to something.

Nineteen years have passed since the last European coach was hired to stand behind a National Hockey League bench — Finland’s Alpo Suhonen (Blackhawks) and the Czech Republic’s Ivan Hlinka (Penguins) landed gigs in 2000-01. Perhaps the National Hockey League is getting ripe for a broader worldview when it comes to its coach hiring policy.

Thirty per cent of the league’s players are European, and 55 per cent of 2019-20’s rookie class is European.

“That tells you where the trend is going. So, I think it’s just a matter of time that NHL teams in the U.S. and Canada look over here at some of the excellent European coaches,” Gronborg says.

“Hockey is hockey. The challenge is for the NHL to open up a new chapter. Hiring coaches with some new backgrounds is only healthy.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, European Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Temo's avatar

I really hope Stevie talks to Rikard when blash is given his walking papers. Doubt Rikard will be interested, though.

Posted by Temo from La Capital, Míchígán on 12/03/19 at 02:50 PM ET

Avatar

I would think the differing ice sizes might be a more difficult transition for a coach than a player

Posted by EthrDemon on 12/03/19 at 03:25 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I have always admired some of the European structures and how they are coached.  Look at small countries like Sweden and Finland and (more recently) Germany - they are competing toe-to-toe with huge countries like Russia, the US, and Canada.  The way they bring teams together and stick to a game plan is incredible - meticulous, planned, and a true team effort.

And with the disturbing crackling of the old boys coaching network in recent days, the most qualified coaching candidate outside of North America might be on to something.

But that’s where things get interesting.  While some of it is the “old boys” club, it’s networking.  If I’m a GM, I’m a heck of a lot more comfortable bringing in a coach whom my colleagues have observed and know well and can trust.  Just like any other job.  Getting a coach from across the world is a huge risk for so many reasons.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/03/19 at 04:54 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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