“He had success both at club and national team level, which decided in his favour,” said GM Marton Vas. “He’s a sympathetic, highly knowledgeable, well-trained professional, from whom we expect to rebuild a fighting, motivated Hungarian team.”
The 60-year-old will arrive in Hungary at the end of September and visit games in Hungary to get to know the clubs and players. During the November break an international tournament is planned in Budapest where he would have his debut behind the bench of his new team.
“It’s an honour to be the head coach of the Hungarian national team. I am excited to start the work,” Simpson said in an interview.
“I have never been to Hungary before. I’m really looking forward to seeing Budapest. So far, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the country and the people, and that’s true for hockey players as well. Those who have worked here before have all praised the players, the staff of the clubs, the leaders.”
Simpson led EV Zug to its only championship in 1998 and two years later won the German DEL with the Munich Barons. In 2009 he won the Champions Hockey League with the ZSC Lions Zurich. It was the first and only time a Swiss club won a best-on-best European club title. Also in 2009 the CHL winner played for the Victoria Cup against an NHL team and Simpson’s Lions beat the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice for the title – the first time a Swiss club team had beaten an NHL team.
For the next five years Sean Simpson was coaching the Swiss national team, which he led to a World Championship silver medal in 2013 – the first medal in 60 years. Most recently Simpson worked as a coach advisor at Swiss club Fribourg-Gotteron.
“Hungarian hockey also wants to develop the way Switzerland did a few years ago when I took over a national team ready for the next step. I managed to lead the Swiss from around the eighth place to a World Championship medal, and I rely on this experience in my current work as well,” said Simpson.
Hungary qualified for the top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 2009 and 2016 but hasn’t managed to return in three attempts. Hungary will play the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in May in Ljubljana against host Slovenia, France, Austria, Korea and Romania.
Hungary also advanced to the Final Olympic Qualification that will be staged in August 2021. In Group E in Riga, Hungary will play for a spot in Beijing 2022 against host Latvia, France and Italy.