April 23, 2024

National Team Coach Harold Kress on Our World Cup Chances: “A World Champion? That would be rude” | Sports

Harold Kreiss (64 years old) has been involved in German ice hockey for 45 years – first as a strong defender and captain of the team in Mannheim, and then as a coach. The German-Canadian has been head coach of the German national team since March 2023 and will lead them to the World Cup finals in Tampere on May 12.

Sunday photo: In 1978 I came to Germany through an advertisement in the “Winnipeg Tribune” with an annual salary of $10,000. How has your job been as the new national coach and successor to Tony Soderholm?

Harold Kreis: The German Ice Hockey Federation correctly informed the head of sports in Schwenningen, where I worked as a coach. Then he gave the go-ahead to contact the association. Then my phone rang. Vice President Andreas Nederberger asked if I was interested in the national coach job. After discussions with sports chief Christian Kunast, news came later that they were going to take me on as a national coach.

I only had success with this functionality on the third try. Do you still really believe in becoming a national coach?

In the past, I was always a contractor and there were inquiries. Düsseldorfer EG and EV Zug from Switzerland did not give me approval at that time. I don’t even think about it anymore because there was a good national coach in Tony Soderholm. But when Soderholm abruptly canceled his contract, I thought I might be an option.

Soderholm did not fulfill his three-year contract and went to SC Bern in Switzerland, where he has since left and is under discussion in Munich. Do you also have an exit clause?

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no. This was the promise of DEB Conast’s sports director. (Laughs) Not to worry. Tony sent me a WhatsApp and congratulated me.

What is the difference between a club and a national coach?

To put it bluntly: the seller was appointed as the sales manager. As a club coach, you spend seventy-five percent of your time on the ice. The national coach has to do with planning, organizing and communicating.

What type of hockey do you represent?

I want to continue the offensive ice hockey of the past. But I also hope we can play well in defence.

What is the cabin language?

The primary cabin language is German. But if you explain the exercises, then in English.

You were born in Canada and also hold a German passport. Do you consider yourself German or Canadian?

I have lived near Mannheim for 45 years and feel German.

What kind of coach are you?

I am the communicative type. Someone who also asks players for their opinion and isn’t afraid of conflict himself. I treat people with courtesy and respect, and I want to earn the players’ trust and respect.

Some coaches are very emotional, and sometimes they throw trash cans in the locker room or kick the doors. Did something similar happen to you?

Yes, what I regret. I was a coach in Dusseldorf and I kicked the trash can in the dressing room. Sporting director Charlie Vliegoff was subsequently billed €400. In hindsight, I was doubly upset. On the other hand, because it didn’t work, you actually lost the game. On the other hand: when I came to Wolfsburg for the next match, the old rubbish bin was still there, but I threw away 400 euros.

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Can players use a first name?

definitely.

Your predecessor, Soderholm, said we could become world champions. do you agree?

no. Right now we can’t become world champions, that would be hypothetical. Finland as the host team, Sweden or Canada are favorites to win the title. I also don’t have a world champion bonus in my contract.

What are the rules you set?

The only big rule I make is punctuality.

The federation issued the quarter-finals as the goal of the World Cup. your goal?

maximum success.

Is it good that we are playing against the top teams Sweden, Finland and the USA at the start of the World Cup?

Yes I like it. Energy reserves are still there, enthusiasm is great.

Are you actually a good house man?

Anyway, I can iron a shirt in six minutes. And it still looks good. I cook at home from time to time.

How many suits do you have hanging in your closet?

Three suits and a tuxedo. My fashion advisor is my wife.

When I was a player in Mannheim, I also trained as a car salesman. What did you take with you to your job as a coach?

I have successfully completed this training and shall become a Senior Salesman. You can’t ask me anything about engines, but communication and negotiation skills – I really took that with me. She also completed an apprenticeship as a specialist in foreign trade.