It’s official: the Buffalo Sabres have a new head coach. The team officially named Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history early Wednesday, at the culmination of what many have called an “exhaustive” search for a new bench boss.
We found our guy.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) May 15, 2019
Welcome to Buffalo, Coach Krueger! pic.twitter.com/uJEnxca8XV
The 59-year-old is a bit of a surprise hire by the Sabres. He has some NHL experience, but not a lot - less than one season with the Edmonton Oilers back in 2012-2013. But at least on the surface, Krueger appears to be an interesting choice who will bring a fresh perspective to the team.
Krueger is reportedly one of seven candidates who were interviewed by the Sabres in the coaching search, which lasted 38 days since the firing of Phil Housley on April 7. Among the others who the Sabres spoke to: Jacques Martin, Todd McLellan, Dave Tippett and Bob Hartley.
In a piece from the team, Sabres GM Jason Botterill noted Krueger’s “strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background” as key points that make him qualified for the position.
In addition to his NHL experience with the Oilers, Krueger has experience on the international stage. He spent more than ten years coaching the Swiss national team and has also coached in Germany and Austria. He also coached Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
More recently, Krueger has acted as chairman of the English Premier League’s Southampton Football Club. His contract was set to expire on June 30 but he left the club on mutual terms after five years, on April 12.
For more information about the Sabres’ new head coach, check out Anthony’s piece from last night amid the reports that Buffalo was closing in on Krueger; also check out the latest episode of Beyond the Blade, where Chad & Anthony speak with an Oilers writer who knew Krueger in his days in Edmonton.
In the meantime, Botterill is set for an 11 a.m. press conference. Krueger is reportedly in Europe and will be on a conference call at 12:30 p.m.