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Coach’s Challenge: What makes Rikard Grönborg an NHL target?

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Fresh off an extension with his Swiss club, we get a chance to hear from him in regards to coaching philosophy and development.

Lausanne HC - ZSC Lions - Swiss National League Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Rikard Grönborg extended his contract with the Zürich Lions after only coaching the team for a year, and his new contract includes an NHL clause.

Mr. Grönborg might be the next European coach in the NHL and listeners get to hear about his thoughts on the draft lottery for starters, but the discussion turns to the difference between coaching a National team, as Mr. Grönborg did with the Sweden U18 and men’s national team, to a club coaching job with the Zürich Lions in the NLA.

It is clear that coach Grönborg is happy in Zürich and that he cherishes the challenge of coaching in one of the most diverse leagues in Europe.

“One of the toughest challenges in this league is there are so many different ways of coaching and systems and whatnot, so I think that’s something that’s made me a much stronger coach,” he said.

With the Lions having a youth development program, and a farm team in Zürich, mr Grönborg has big role in developing talent, and he sees the challenges of the NLA, the Swiss Cup and the Champions Hockey League as something that can only benefit the development of players as is the introduction of analytics and advanced stats.

“The thing about the numbers is that they have to be easily explainable, easy for us to understand, and easy for the players when they explain it,” he said. “It’s always good to have evidence based things when talking to players, it makes it easy to this is what we want from you.”

With a Bachelor’s degree in communications and a Master’s degree in management, he is a coach that loves to read and he recommends “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle, a book he just finished himself as summer reading in order to improve his management style.

The Lions coach has been a target for a few NHL teams and this interview brings forward the qualities he has, and what an NHL team would get if they hired him as a coach.

Previous Episodes of the Coach’s Challenge:

Växjö’s Sam Hallam:

Rögle’s Cam Abbott:

Djurgården’s Robert Ohlsson:

Frölunda HC’s Roger Rönnberg: