Icy dis­ci­pline needed

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

New South­ern Stam­pede ice hockey coach Heikki Grohn has big plans to in­stil dis­ci­pline into the Queen­stown-based team this sea­son.

The 35-year-old Fin­nish coach played for 15 years in the sec­ond-tier Fin­nish Na­tional League, but af­ter re­al­is­ing he wasn’t go­ing to be a top­tier player, took a few years off at 22, stud­ied coach­ing and re­joined the scene in an off-the-ice role.

See­ing an op­por­tu­nity to coach the Stam­pede dur­ing the Fin­nish off­sea­son, and want­ing to pol­ish his English, Grohn has been in Queen­stown for seven weeks and says his main goal of shap­ing the team into a dis­ci­plined, co­he­sive force is well un­der way.

‘‘The Stam­pede has a good mix of older guys and younger guys, but not too much in the in-be­tween bracket of 22 to 25-year-old play­ers,’’ he said.

‘‘I want the team to be more of a unit and to fo­cus on the game, the rules of the game, and re­spect and dis­ci­pline. They have a rep­u­ta­tion as a tough, ag­gres­sive team, but they need to re­spect the refs more and stay calm when things get heated.’’

Grohn’s dis­ci­pline crack­down comes af­ter last year’s Stam­pede sea­son was marked by on-ice brawls re­sult­ing in sus­pen­sions and sin­bin­ning dur­ing pre­cious game time. He will also be coach­ing ju­niors of the Queen­stown Ice Hockey Club.

All-round kiwi play­ers showed some great prom­ise, but just did not get the same amount of on-ice time as their in­ter­na­tional con­tem­po­raries, Grohn said.

Photo: GRANT BRYANT/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Cool: New South­ern Stam­pede ice hockey coach Heikki Grohn at the team’s home rink.

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