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 matches? That we can see ourselves in the mirror again in terms of identity. We had high expectations, but somehow “That’s how we win was a bit lost. It’s important that we do not talk too much about results either.”
What mistakes may have been made in preparation for the Olympics, and what lessons were learned from them?
Söderholm: “There were a few mistakes. One was bigger than the other. But it’s a thing of the past now. I 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 has the Olympics got 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 should too. But let’s win the first point in the first match first, and then we’ll see what the next one is. Hard, down to earth, hard – the way we have to work so that we can get into a position where we can succeed. That’s all I care about. “
What is the exact goal of the World Cup?
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 does not have energy, then he has no energy. If a player feels that he can not help the team, then he does not help the team either. and then we take the next one. There’s nothing for me to discuss. Some are injured, so it’s a disappointment for the players when 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. Technically he is very strong. His positional game 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 is a normal situation at a World Cup. Normally you have your three best goalkeepers in the squad, and one can only play at a time. We have of course clarified this in advance. I trust the boys, they come out of it really well. with each other and with the situation clear. “
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 should be serious and when it’s time to have fun. When he puts on his skates and goes out on the ice, it’s in full swing.”
What burden can NHL striker Tim Stützle already take on the offensive despite his young age?
Söderholm: “He can definitely take on 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. His gaze and creativity are also in the offensive 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.
To 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.