ZOETERMEER, Netherlands – For the first time since 2006 the Netherlands will see a new face behind the bench of the national team. The Ice Hockey Association of The Netherlands (NIJB) announced Sunday that the American coach Larry Suarez has signed a three-year deal to lead the national team.
The 47-year-old Suarez replaces Tom Hartogs whose contract was not renewed after a five-year spell in which the Dutch stabilized their stay in Division 1 and in which the team was rejuvenated.
“It’s an honour for me to coach a national team,” Suarez said at a press conference. “The past few years I built up a strong connection with the Netherlands and I’ll do my best to fulfil my new job as good as possible.”
Not blessed with an impressive resume as an active player, the Chicago native took up a coaching role in Europe. After two seasons in Germany he had a successful spell in the Netherlands. In three years time he captures two league titles and a national cup with the Tilburg Trappers. Afterwards he continued coaching in Italy and Germany again, and this season he’s behind the bench of the Ratinger Ice Aliens playing in the Oberliga, Germany’s third-tier league.
Suarez, who served as an assistant coach for the Dutch U18 team in 2007 and 2008, will make his debut behind the Netherlands bench in November when the orange team will face Poland, Romania and Croatia during a Euro Ice Hockey Challenge tournament in Torun, Poland.