Sabres hire Ralph Krueger as head coach

May 15, 2019 - 8:37 am
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The Buffalo Sabres have officially hired Ralph Krueger as the team's 19th head coach in franchise history.

We found our guy.

Welcome to Buffalo, Coach Krueger! pic.twitter.com/uJEnxca8XV

Welcome to Buffalo, Coach Krueger! pic.twitter.com/uJEnxca8XV

We found our guy.

— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) May 15, 2019

The team made the hiring official on Wednesday after an extensive search for a new head coach following the firing of Phil Housley back on April 7. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported on Tuesday that the Sabres had interviewed seven candidates for their vacant coaching position.

The Sabres interviewed seven candidates in all. Was a thorough process. https://t.co/dwvWmAgm2T

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 15, 2019

LeBrun also reports that Krueger's deal with the Sabres is a three-year contract that will pay him close to $12 million.

Not confirmed but my understanding is that Ralph Krueger’s deal with Buffalo is for three years and worth ballpark of $11.5 million - $12 million total. So sounds like just under $4 million average per year

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 15, 2019

“I am excited and honored to join the Buffalo Sabres family and will strive to maximize the potential that lies within this team,” said Krueger in a team statement. “I look forward to building on the many positives that have been established within the organization and I am especially eager to get behind the bench and represent this passionate hockey city.”

“Throughout his career, Ralph has shown the ability to adapt to a variety of high-pressure environments while leading some of the world’s elite players,” said Sabres general manager Jason Botterill in the team statement. “His strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background make him a uniquely qualified candidate to lead our team going forward.”

Krueger gets his second coaching job in the National Hockey League after spending the last five years in the English Premier League as the chairman of the Southampton Football Club. The 59-year-old last coached with the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season, leading the team to a 19-22-7 record and 45 points in 48 games.

Krueger's coaching track record dates back to 1989 when he served as a player-coach in the German second-tier league with Duisburger SV. He ended up becoming the head coach of VEU Feldkirch in the Austrian National League during the 1991-92, and went on to lead the team to five straight league championships. In 1998, he was named as the head coach of the Swiss national men's ice hockey team, where he served in that position until 2010. During that time, he also served as a European Consultant for the Carolina Hurricanes from 2005 to 2010, where he ended up winning a Stanley Cup in 2006.

The Oilers hired Krueger in 2010 to serve as an associate coach under head coach Tom Renney. After two seasons spent as the associate coach, the Oilers named Krueger as head coach following Renney's firing. However, Krueger's tenure as coach was short-lived when he was fired in favor of Dallas Eakins after Craig MacTavish took over as general manager in Edmonton.

Following his time in Edmonton, Krueger went on to serve as a team consultant to Hockey Canada for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also served as the head coach for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, where he led the European squad to a surprising second place finish in the tournament. They ended up losing to Team Canada in the final round in a best-of-three series.

This isn’t the first time that Botterill has interviewed Krueger for Buffalo's head coaching job. He also spoke with Krueger back in 2017 before he went on to hire Housley.

One of the things that Krueger has been said to do really well is coach to his players' strengths. He also brings positivity to the team in his teachings.

Botterill is expected to meet with the media at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, which can be heard live on WGR Sports Radio 550. The Sabres will also hold a conference call with Krueger from Europe at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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