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.”