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Sabres coach Ralph Krueger participating in coaching mentorship program

Suspension of play in the National Hockey League won't prevent Ralph Krueger from teaching the concepts he implemented during his first season as coach of the Buffalo Sabres.

The students and methods in which Krueger must use have changed, though.

Krueger will lead a webinar with more than 400 coaches from nine European ice hockey federations as part of the NHL Coaches' Association Mentorship Program, an online initiative that began Friday. His talk will center around career development, specifically his path from coach of Switzerland's national team to the NHL, and will highlight the difference between coaching in Europe and North America.

“We have a responsibility to take a leadership role in the development of hockey coaches,” Krueger said in a news release. “We’re so fortunate to be coaching in the NHL, so sharing our knowledge and insights with the next generation of coaches is the least we can do.”

The NHLCA rolled out a pilot program this season to help further the development of hockey coaches in the NCAA, USHL, ECHL and AHL. A combined 200 coaches from those leagues participated in live webinars led by current NHL head coaches that included topics such as leadership, communication, career advancement and other advice for coaches looking to enhance their skillset.

Technology allows for live webinars in which an NHL coach provides a 30-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session. The program was planned to be implemented on a larger scale in October, but the coaches' association moved up the launch in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA, ECHL and USHL have canceled their seasons, while the AHL and NHL schedules are suspended.

“Now more than ever, the hockey community needs to come together and support each other in these times of uncertainty,” Lindsay Artkin, president of the NHL Coaches’ Association said in a release. “Our NHL coaches have been tremendous in taking a leadership role in doing just that. They remain committed to helping in the continued development of all hockey coaches around the world, especially in these challenging times.”

The program will include more than 20 presentations from NHL head, assistant and goalie coaches over six weeks, with representation from nearly every NHL team. Topics will range from leadership, communication, networking, and career advancement strategies to advice about implementing systems, player development and opponent scouting tactics.

Following his time in Switzerland, Krueger spent three years on the Edmonton Oilers' staff, one as head coach, before serving as chairman of Southampton FC, in the English Premier League. The Sabres are 30-31-8 during Krueger's first season.

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