Ice Hockey: Big name coach for Ambri-Piotta

Ambri-Piotta, have pulled off one of the biggest signings in Swiss ice hockey history, after agreeing terms with the Canadian coach, Pierre Pagé. The 52-year-old will be the first former NHL head coach to train a team in the Swiss league.

This content was published on July 3, 2000 minutes

Pagé has a distinguished coaching history. Nine years after entering the profession, he was named assistant trainer of the Canadian national side, under the tutelage of the legendary Scotty Bowman. His first NHL appointment followed as assistant coach with the Calgary Flames. He then moved up to head coach spending two years at the Minnesota North Stars (1988-90), and four years at the Québec Nordiques before returning to Calgary from 1995 to 1997. His last spell as a head coach was with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, but he was replaced after failing to take the team to the playoffs.

A loan spell as an advisor to Ambri-Piotta led to his latest move. Pagé has now signed a three-year contract with the Ticinese side.

While the transfer of NHL coaches to the Swiss league is without precedent, movement in the other direction is not unheard of. Of the current head coaches in the NHL, three have done service in Switzerland (Andy Murray, Ron Wilson and Alpo Suhonen.)

Ambri's president, Emilio Juri, has not chosen to state whether Pagé's contract includes a get-out clause in the event of an NHL club offering him a return to North America. But Juri insists Pagé is interested in the long-term position in Ticino.

"He's already shown himself to be very impressed with our youth set-up," the Ambri president said. "We are happy that we could get such an important personality for the club."

Pagé's pedigree won't count for much, though, if he can't continue Ambri's recent successes. In the last two years, the fans have enjoyed two Continental cup wins, reached the playoff finals and won the European Supercup - the only Swiss club yet to do so.

swissinfo with agencies

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