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Ice hockey coach quits ‘dream job’

Doh! Simpson is the focus of attention after announcing he would not extend his contract Keystone

Sean Simpson, Canadian coach of the Swiss national ice hockey team, will stand down after the 2014 world championships in Minsk, Belarus, in May.

“Sean decided not to sign a new contract with us,” Swiss Ice Hockey Federation President Marc Furrer said at a press conference in Zurich on Monday. “We would have liked to re-sign with him and I think we offered a very good contract. We’ve had four good years with Sean.”

For his part, Simpson said it had been a very difficult decision. “I enjoyed my time with the national team. It was a dream job, one of the best jobs in the world,” he said.

“Unfortunately it didn’t come to a solution but sometimes a decision goes another way. I had my vision and they had theirs and it didn’t fit.”

Simpson has already signed a contract with a club team but didn’t want to say where.

“Out of respect to the club it won’t be announced until the end of the season. That can take anything between six weeks and three months,” he said, leaving room for speculation about a return to North America.

Olympic disappointment

Simpson took over the Swiss team in April 2010 from fellow-Canadian Ralph Krueger and led it to a historic silver medal at the 2013 world championships.

However, last month the team was less successful, finishing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in ninth place after a painful 3-1 loss to underdogs Latvia in the qualification round.

The Swiss media grilled Simpson following the game, asking him if he had made mistakes and what he thought his future would be as the national team coach.

“My contract is up after the world championships,” he said at the time. “We’ll see what happens then.”

The Swiss Ice Hockey Federation has not signed a new coach yet; the search will start now. The favourite, at least in Tuesday’s newspapers, is German-Canadian Harry Kreis.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR