Krueger talks hockey but thinks soccer

Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:29pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ralph Krueger stood at the podium talking hockey but thinking soccer.

As the chairman of Premiership side Southampton FC, Krueger's mind was on a far away Europa Cup match that was just getting underway against Sparta Prague.

As head coach of Team Europe, his focus was on the World Cup of Hockey and his team's tournament opener the next day against the United States.

It would be a good start to both competitions for Krueger as Southampton claimed a 3-0 win over Sparta while Team Europe, a rag-tag collection of smaller hockey playing nations, shocked the mighty Americans by the same score.

The possibility of winning trophies at far ends of the sporting spectrum would seem the stuff of Hollywood fiction but a story that Krueger could make a reality.

To find a Canadian coaching at hockey's top level is as common as snow in December at Krueger's boyhood Winnipeg home but for a hockey man through-and-through who had no particular interest in soccer while growing up, the prospect of hoisting one of Europe's grandest trophies would appear far-fetched.

"It is a complex life but I think the most interesting thing is how you can go from two different sports and feel the same base dynamics," smiled Krueger. "I've taken so much of my life in hockey into the football world in England.

"It is exciting to be back here for a month in the hockey world. This journey has been running parallel to my football life and it is growth experience that I am very grateful for."   Continued...

Sep 8, 2016; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Team Europe head coach Ralph Krueger looks at the scoreboard during the second period of the World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game against Team North America at Videotron Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports