Successful coach goes to Switzerland: Toni Söderholm is no longer national ice hockey coach

The German Ice Hockey Federation must quickly clarify an important personnel issue: they are looking for a new national coach.

Successful coach goes to Switzerland: Toni Söderholm is no longer national ice hockey coach

The German Ice Hockey Federation must quickly clarify an important personnel issue: they are looking for a new national coach. From now on. Because Toni Söderholm, who led the national team to great success, is leaving his post with immediate effect.

Toni Söderholm is no longer the national coach of the German national ice hockey team. The 44-year-old Finn asked the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) for an early termination of his contract, which was only extended to 2026 last March, in order to train the Swiss club SC Bern with immediate effect. "The DEB has decided to accommodate the request and to give the go-ahead to change," said the association. Both sides have agreed not to disclose the details of the termination of the contract.

The search for a successor will be "taken up immediately with great care," the DEB announced. "The past four years with Toni Söderholm have been successful for the DEB and for the national team. We would have loved to have continued on the path we have taken with him," said DEB President Peter Merten: "The desire for change and the daily work with a team went from Toni. We then dealt intensively with his request and finally came to the decision that we will comply with his request."

Söderholm thanked the association for this decision. "It was always clear to me that one day I would like to seek the challenge of day-to-day work at the club," said the Finn. "The opportunity to join a top European club that I've played for at short notice is attractive." As a former defender, Söderholm played for the 16-time Swiss champions from 2005 to 2007. At SC he also meets German international Dominik Kahun.

Söderholm only extended his contract with DEB last spring until 2026, but even before that he had toyed with becoming a club coach. At that time, the ambitious coach had spoken openly about the NHL as a possible goal. Söderholm took over as national coach at the beginning of 2019, succeeding Marco Sturm, who had led the German national team to the sensational silver medal at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. Söderholm continued his work largely successfully, at the 2021 World Cup the DEB selection moved into the semi-finals under his direction.

However, the early Olympic exit this year in Beijing was an unexpected setback. Last weekend, Söderholm had won all three games and thus the four-nation tournament with the selection at the Deutschland Cup, on the final day he informed the DEB bosses of his wish for a separation. "All the players welcomed me with openness, gave me energy, trust and time away from their families. I'm grateful to have spent time with these strong personalities," said Söderholm in farewell.

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