Ralph Krueger, just months removed from taking Team Europe to the World Cup of Hockey final, rejected a pair of NHL head coaching gigs this offseason.
Krueger explained as much in an exclusive interview with ProSoccerTalk’s Joe Prince-Wright. The 57-year-old currently serves as the chairman of Southampton Football Club in the English Premier League.
“It was nice and honorable that I was offered two NHL jobs this postseason 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 [at Southampton] 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 Hockey Championship for Germany right now in Germany, 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.”
When asked which teams were interested, Krueger said they were “undisclosed,” only confirming there were two.
Krueger’s name popped up last month in connection to the then-vacant Canucks gig. It was reported Vancouver had interest following the dismissal of Willie Desjardins, but the job eventually went to Travis Green.
It’s worth noting Canucks president Trevor Linden later said Green was the only coaching candidate the team interviewed.
But that wasn’t the first time Krueger had been tied to a potential NHL return. Following his success at the World Cup, there was speculation he’d entertain the idea of coming back, having previously been the bench boss in Edmonton.
Krueger didn’t rule it out, but said his allegiance was to the Saints.
“I came in here committed completely to Southampton Football Club and the future of that organization in my role,” he explained prior to the World Cup final. “You can never say never, but at the moment I’m very proud to be back in hockey at this level and to be competing.
“We are just having so much fun in our room, the coaches, the players, the whole group is enjoying it, and I am, too. But my real life is my commitment to Southampton Football Club at the moment.”
Currently there are only two NHL head coaching vacancies, in Florida and Buffalo.