Ever since he led Team Europe to the final of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Ralph Krueger has been a hot name in NHL coaching circles. But despite a number of openings this spring, he’s pretty happy in his position as chairman of English Premier League side Southampton, who are in line for a fourth straight top 10 finish.
In speaking with NBC’s ProSoccerTalk, Krueger revealed that two NHL teams pursued him to take over their head-coaching job, but he said no to both.
“It was nice and honorable that I was offered two NHL jobs post-season and I was happy they didn’t forget about me but I turned them down,” Krueger said. “It just feels like we’ve only just got started here and especially with the management re-organization we just did, there is kind of like there’s something here where we are going to take it to another level.
“I still love the game and I have lots of friends still in the playoffs, I am keeping a close eye on them. My son is playing at the World Ice Hockey Championships for Germany right now in Germany and all of that… but it is Southampton. At the moment this is doing it. I don’t think you ever close the door on anything in your life but I love being here.”
Last month Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Krueger was on the radar of the Vancouver Canucks. They ended up hiring Travis Green. On Tuesday, Pierre LeBrun of TSN Tweeted that new Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill was interested in chatting with the former Edmonton Oilers coach.
The Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres are the only NHL teams left with head coaching vacancies.
Being chairman of an English Premier League club is quite a gig, and Southampton have done well since Krueger arrived, so it would take a lot, I imagine, for him to give up all that to deal with the daily headaches of being a professional coach again.
Maybe we see him back behind a hockey bench next February during the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang? He did guide the Swiss team in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and since Hockey Canada won’t be able to get Mike Babcock due to his duties with the Toronto Maple Leafs, maybe Krueger will be able to work his short tournament magic once again.
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