From the “didn’t see this coming” file:
Former Edmonton bench boss Ralph Krueger has been hired by Southampton F.C. — currently sitting ninth in England’s Barclays Premier League — as an aide to club owner Katharina Liebherr, according to The Guardian.
Liebherr, who has taken on the role of non-executive chairwoman at Southampton, is keen to have greater involvement at the club and, in addition to the new chief executive, she will hand-pick at least three aides to help her in all areas of the business.
One of them is Krueger, 54, a German citizen, who played ice hockey in Germany before moving into coaching, most notably with the Switzerland men’s national team and the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL. He will be a consultant to the Canada team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month, after which he will begin his work in earnest at Southampton. He was present at Monday’s staff meeting.
Krueger is known for his motivational speaking career, in which he explores the elements necessary to build a high-performance team. He places team spirit above individual success and he details the philosophy in his autobiographical self-help book, Teamlife: From Failure to Success.
Krueger went 19-22-7 in his lone year in Edmonton, briefly flirting with a playoff push during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.
He’s known as an innovative thinker — last year, he raised some eyebrows by saying he and his staff were treating the shootout as a “third special team,” and had goalie coach Frederic Chabot scout opposing goalies for tips and strategies.