The 2022-2023 season will mark the beginning of a new era for the Philadelphia Flyers. While the team needs to improve in many areas, the main focus this summer will be finding a new head coach. A breath of fresh air is not only needed on the ice, but also behind the bench.
Former head coaches like Rick Tocchet, John Tortorella, and Claude Julien have all had their names tossed around as potential candidates to be the next bench boss of the Flyers. However, those names won’t give the Flyers that breath of fresh air.
There is one name that the Flyers should enter the new era with, and that name is: Rikard Grönborg.
Who is Rikard Grönborg?
Rikard Grönborg is the current Head Coach of the ZSC Lions in the National League. He was the head coach of the Swedish National Team from 2016-2019, was an assistant during the 2014 Winter Olympics where Sweden won the silver medal, and he’s also helped coach the Swedish U18 and U20 junior teams to multiple world junior championship medals.
Grönborg played college hockey at St. Cloud State. While he was there, he decided to go back to Stockholm and play professionally. He then returned back to St. Cloud State to finish his academics, and became an assistant coach with the Huskies. It was the start of his coaching career.
Considered to be one of the best coaching options outside of the NHL, Grönborg would be the breath of fresh air that the Philadelphia Flyers desperately need.
Last summer, he interviewed for the Buffalo Sabres’ head coach role. At 53-years-old, Grönborg could be with the Flyers for the next decade if he were to be hired.
What makes Grönborg a standout candidate is his philosophical approach to the game. Grönborg has a Master’s degree in management and a Bachelor’s in communications; he likes to keep a close relationship with his players to get the best out of their abilities.
He understands that each player has a different skill-set. What works for one player, doesn’t mean it will work for the other. Grönborg accentuates the positives, optimizing his lineup
His philosophy is important in developing young players. When you know your players on a personal level and gain their trust, their confidence will rise with their play. That is the mindset that the Philadelphia Flyers desperately need with the amount of young talent soon to break into the starting lineup.
Credit Grönborg’s approach to his success while working with the Swedish National Team. He coached both past and present NHL superstars, including Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson, Niklas Backstrom, Niklas Lidstrom, and Daniel Alfredsson. Those are just a few players from a lengthy list.
He also coached Oskar Lindblom and Felix Sandstrom during the 2015-2016 World Junior Championship.
All of these players had nothing but great things to say about who Grönborg is as a person and coach. Grönborg receives lots of praise from those in Sweden.
Not A Risk
Many franchises fear the risk of hiring a European coach because of the differences in the style of play between Europe and North America. However, this isn’t the case with Grönborg. He refers to his style of play as a hybrid, using both the European and North American techniques.
The Philadelphia Flyers need to take the gamble, and this is the perfect opportunity.
Hiring Grönborg shows the Flyers fans, and the rest of the NHL that Philadelphia is willing to go out and get the best option available in order to improve their franchise. It would also break the cycle of hiring former head coaches within the NHL.
If the Flyers want a new era of hockey, then they shouldn’t let the Fresh Prince move to Bel-Air.
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)