Helsinki. An educational year is behind national hockey coach Toni Söderholm. In 2021, the coach just missed a medal with the national team at the World Cup in Riga, Germany, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
The first major setback in his tenure followed in February, when he lost the Olympics before the quarter-finals. On 13 May, the next World Cup, which is special for Söderholm, begins in Helsinki against Canada (19: 20 / Sport1 and MagentaSport) in his home country Finland. In an interview with the German press agency, the 44-year-old talks about the disappointment at the Olympics, his claims and the NHL trio in the squad.
The Winter Games in Beijing were a disappointment. What must happen at the World Cup in order for it to be considered compensation?
Toni Söderholm: “The important question for me is that we can answer the how-to question. How do we win games? That we can again see ourselves in the mirror in relation to identity. We had high expectations, but somehow the how-we-win was a bit lost. It is important that we do not talk too much about results. “
What mistakes may have been made in preparation for the Olympics, and what lessons were learned from them?
Söderholm: «There were some mistakes. One was larger than the other. But that’s in the past now. I already bought a new mirror, now we’re moving on. “
Has the relationship between the players on the team and in relation to you changed as a result of the disappointment at the Olympics?
Söderholm: «Not at all. I think the conversations afterwards were sober for everyone. It was also instructive to know how everyone reacts when things do not go as hoped. Everyone wants to present themselves better. “
Do you feel more pressure because the Olympics went much worse than you had hoped?
Söderholm: «Not at all. What does the Olympics have to do with this tournament? Zero.”
At the World Championships in Riga last year, the team narrowly missed out on a medal. Would it be formastent to dream of the second semifinal in a row?
Söderholm: “You can dream every day if you want, and you probably will. But let’s win the first point in the first match first, and then we’ll see. Hard, down to earth, hard – that’s how we should work to put ourselves in a position to succeed. I do not care more. “
What is the exact World Cup goal?
Söderholm: “We have not done that yet.”
How disappointed are you that apparently not all national players can get together for this World Cup?
Söderholm: «There are several reasons. If a player is injured, then he is injured. If a player has no energy, then he has no energy. If a player feels he can not help the team, then he does not help the team and then we take the next one. There is nothing for me to discuss. Some are injured, so it’s a disappointment for the players if they can not be there.
NHL goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer should take on the role of number one. How do you see his role in the team?
Söderholm: «He is very important. Philipp also has a very good character. He also brings a lot of confidence. He brings a feeling that boosts the confidence of the whole team. Technically, he is very strong. He is very strong in skating. His positional play is very strong. “
Mathias Niederberger is part of the World Cup squad together with Grubauer. To what extent can the situation become problematic if the best DEL goalkeeper is sitting on the bench?
Söderholm: “It’s a normal situation at a World Cup. Usually you have your three best goalkeepers in the squad, and one can only play at a time. Of course we have clarified that in advance. I trust the guys, they come out really well. with each other and with the situation. “
Defender Moritz Seider played a very strong first NHL season. Where do you see the limits of its development?
Söderholm: “Is there anyone? I do not think so.”
Moritz Seider has always conveyed great self-confidence in the past. How important is his role in the team?
Söderholm: «Important. I think he has a very good balance between when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to have fun. If he then puts on his skates and goes out on the ice, then that’s the case. “
What burden can NHL striker Tim Stützle already take on the offensive despite his young age?
Söderholm: «He can certainly take over a lot. It is important for us to have the mentality in the team that someone can score goals. Tim has great offensive potential, is technically gifted and reacts very quickly. In addition, his gaze and his creativity in the offensive is at a very high level. “
Who is your favorite title?
Söderholm: I think you have to pass the Finns at some point. I think Canada wants a strong team. And it will be interesting to see what the Czechs do with Kari Jalonen as their new coach.
About the person: Toni Söderholm (44) surprisingly succeeded Marco Sturm at the end of 2018. At the time, the ex-profession was the coach of the third division club SC Riessersee. Up until the Winter Games, his departure from the German Ice Hockey Federation after the World Cups in Helsinki and Tampere was expected. At the end of March, Söderholm extended until 2026.
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