STOCKHOLM – The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation named Rikard Gronborg, Johan Garpenlov and Peter Popovic as coaches for the 2016/2017 season including the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Gronborg was named the head coach and former NHLers Garpenlov and Popovic were named assistant coaches. All coaches are 47 years old.
"It is with a great deal of pride and humility that I accept this fantastic coaching opportunity within Swedish ice hockey. Since I grew up during the Canada Cup era back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when, for the first time in modern history the greatest players in World represented their respective nations. Therefore this will be a great honour for me personally to coach Team Sweden at the World Cup,” said Gronberg.
“I am also looking forward to work with some of the best and most respected hockey personalities that Sweden has to offer. I would like to thank the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and then in particular Tommy Boustedt, Peter Forsberg and Anders Larsson who have all shown great professionalism during the hiring process.”
Rikard Gronborg served as an assistant coach on the men’s national team during four seasons, 2011/2012-2014/2015 and earlier served as the team’s scouting coach during four seasons. In 2015/2016 he will be the head coach of the U20 national team for the third season with the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship that starts in Helsinki, Finland, in four months as the highlight. Earlier he was coaching the U18 national team for three years.
Johan Garpenlov played 10 NHL seasons for the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers and served as a team manager for the men’s national team during two seasons 2010/2011-2011/2012. He also served as an assistant coach for Sweden’s World Cup of Hockey team in 2004 and for Djurgarden Stockholm, and worked as a scout for the Dallas Stars.
Peter Popovic played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins during eight NHL seasons. He has been working as an assistant coach for the Swedish men’s national team since 2011.
“I am very pleased that, after a long and diligent process, we finally were able to agree on this staff. We can now present a continued strong National Team staff after the current 2015-16 season. It also feels very important that we can now focus on the World Championship in Moscow 2016,” said General Secretary Tommy Boustedt.
“I feel very confident that our current and most accomplished National Team Coach, Par Marts, to coach the team until Rikard Gronborg and his team take over after the season.”
“We have worked constructively and turned all stones in this nomination process to really make the right decision. I hope that we have succeeded with this process to ensure that we have a very strong National Team Staff for the future. It has been a long process where we have listened to players, coaches, agents and scouts. We did that to make sure that we will get the right profile on our team staff members,” said Vice President Peter Forsberg.
Forsberg also emphasizes the importance in the continuation of the success as a very important ingredient in the process. “The perfect example of the successful internal recruitment is that Per Marts first coached our Junior National Team several years before taking over the National Team. When we now hire Rikard Gronborg we will get a National Team coach with excellent experience and success, and with the right kind of background. He has worked with the national teams for last 10 years and has successfully been a Head Coach for both the U18 and U20 National Teams at the World Championships,” Forsberg added.
Gronborg will have a fast start in 2016 as the World Cup of Hockey will be played from 17 September to 1 October 2016 in Toronto. Prior to that exhibition games against Finland are planned on 8 September in Helsinki and on 10 September in Gothenburg where the Swedes will have their preparation camp.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association also announced that NHL greats Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mats Sundin were named to the national team advisory board.
– compiled by IIHF Staff with files from the Swedish Ice Hockey Association