On May 2019 the ZSC Lions, that were coming off the bitter playout, announced Rikard Grönborg to be their new head coach in view of the 2019-20 season.
Most people were thrilled. Rikard Grönborg in fact, was considered one of the best coaches around. From our part instead, we had some doubt. Or rather, we considered the fact that Rikard’s last job as a head coach of a club team dated back to 2003 a potential problem. Starting from 2006 in fact, Rikard Grönborg was always part of the staff of the national team of Sweden. Previously, he had only coached a club team in the AWHL between 1998 and 2003.
Again, he did a great job for the Swedish national team and he was even the head coach of the first team between 2016 and 2019. Then again, we had doubts. Be it because, as said, his last job as a head coach of a club team dated back to many years before… and be it because, let’s face it, Zürich is a difficult place to work in.
Well, in view of what happened last season… we can only say “mea culpa”.
Not only did the ZSC Lions win the 2019-20 regular season… but, most and above all, they played the best hockey of the league. Let’s face it, the Lions were pure joy to watch most of the times.
For that, Rikard Grönborg – together with his staff – played a crucial role.
Of course, not everything was perfect. If we think about the earliest stages of the season in fact, the Lions were way too often undisciplined and were assessed way too many unnecessary penalties. What is more, the team can still improve a lot when it comes to kill penalties.
However, guys, we did not see any better team than the ZSC Lions during this last season and we just couldn’t wait to admire them during the post-season. Post-season that was cancelled because of the darn virus.
But there is more.
The New Jersey Devils (NHL) were interested in Rikard Grönborg. We mean, there was the risk of losing this precious gem also because Rikard’s dream is surely to coach in the most prestigious league of the world one day.
And instead today – July 1st, 2020 – came a great news for the ZSC Lions and for the whole National League.
The ZSC Lions in fact, announced that Rikard Grönborg has extended his contract in advance and will be a Lion at least until 2023!
— ZSC Lions (@zsclions) July 1, 2020
We mean, the NHL can wait before stealing Rikard from us for the time being.
It’s a huge luck for us to have the chance to admire this great coach in Switzerland again. Rikard was able, in only few months, to turn the ZSC Lions from flop to top. He was able to turn a lion cub into a roaring lion. He was able to make his team play a very catchy hockey, especially in the offensive zone. He was able to get the best out of each single one of his players. He was able to bring back the enthusiasm at the Hallenstadion. He was able, finally, to bring in some calm on the shores of the Limmat.
Rikard, together with his staff, did an impressive job and will stay in Switzerland for a while more.
Again, this is a great news for the ZSC Lions and for the National League. Less for the opponents.
And sorry one more time Rikard, if we had doubts about you 🙂