Sports

Sabres name Krueger fifth head coach since 2013

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Premier League – Southampton vs Manchester United – St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, Britain – September 23, 2017 Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger with co-owners Gao Jisheng and Katharina Liebherr Action Images via Reuters/Tony O’Brien

Named Buffalo’s fifth head coach since 2013 on Wednesday, Ralph Krueger takes on the task of ending the Sabres’ eight-year Stanley Cup playoff drought.

General manager Jason Botterill believes the 59-year-old former Edmonton Oilers coach and English Premier League executive is uniquely qualified to handle the job.

“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,” Botterill said in a statement. “His strong communication skills, leadership and diverse background make him a uniquely qualified candidate to lead our team going forward.”

The last time Krueger coached hockey was in 2016, when he led Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He also coached Switzerland in international play for more than a decade. Krueger posted a 19-22-7 record in his 2012-13 stint with the Oilers and drew praise for his work with younger players.

From 2014 until last month, Krueger served as chairman of the Premier League club Southampton FC. He told The Athletic last month that his experience there will translate to the NHL.

“Now I’ve had the opportunity to be that person who creates a culture where you try to have it that everybody can really find their potential and find out what they’re made of,” Krueger said. “So my evolution has been neat that way. Now six years into this, if someone is asking me about the NHL, your brain goes to a similar role.”

The Sabres finished with the NHL’s fifth-worst record in 2018-19, winning just 16 of their final 57 games.

The most critical tasks facing Krueger and Botterill this offseason include re-signing center Jeff Skinner and preparing for next month’s draft, where Buffalo has the No. 7 overall pick.

—Field Level Media

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