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2016 World Cup of Hockey: Germany’s Kreuger is also chairman of EPL club Southampton


09-19-2016 16:01 BJT

For a very lucky few, their career is a calling. But for Team Europe bench boss Ralph Kreuger, his passion crosses the borders of sport, as the Canadian born German mixes both hockey and football in his professional life, and as Jonas Gilbart reports, that dual role earns him the moniker "the most interesting coach in the world."

His day job is Chairman of Southampton FC in the Premiership, but right now he's moonlighting in Toronto back on the ice, where his coaching career began.

"It's a complex life, but I think the most interesting thing is that you can go to two different sports ... same dynamics ... same culture that brings you to winning," said Ralph Kreuger, Team Europe head coach.

And Kreuger's idea of culture certainly seems to be successful one. Last season saw Southampton record their best-ever Premier League finish. His message: don't be afraid to tackle new challenges.

"My goal as a leader is to learn and grow, and do difficult things. It's been running parallel to my football experience which I am very thankful for," Ralph Kreuger said.

Here at the World Cup, Kreuger has brought together a European team comprised of players from 8 nations no easy feat. For the veterans his selection seems to be somewhat serendipitous.

"Very outspoken, very positive, and I think a good, good fit for a team like this in such a short period of time," said Anze Kopitar, Team Europe captain.

And perhaps it is Kreuger's ability to forge a cohesive unit that laid the groundwork for Europe's tournament-opening upset win over the USA. It surprised many in the hockey world but not the coach who has told his players, they take a backseat to no one.

"Like everybody else, we want to play next weekend, we never saw ourselves as a sideshow ever. This group has always been building to do this," Ralph Kreuger said.

And thanks to that win over the Americans, the Europeans now control their own destiny. A win on Monday over the Czech Republic who Canada dominated 6-0 on Saturday would see Kreuger's crew move out of the group stage on to the semi-finals. Another mission accomplished against tall odds, certainly nothing new for this true Renaissance Man of coaching.

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