CHAIRMAN Ralph Krueger’s “focus remains fully on Saints for now” after being touted as a potential candidate for the head coach role at Canadian ice hockey outfit Vancouver Canucks.
Krueger previously coached the Switzerland ice hockey team and Canucks’ National Hockey League (NHL) rivals Edmonton Oilers, before taking his current role at St Mary’s in 2014.
While at Saints, the 57-year-old has kept his hand in hockey, leading Team Europe in last year’s World Cup all the way to the final, where they were beaten by hosts Canada.
That surprise success in the World Cup has led to the belief that Krueger could be a great acquisition for an NHL side.
Now, with Canucks searching for a new head coach, NHL reporter Elliotte Friedman has linked Krueger with the job.
The Canadian journalist Tweeted that Krueger had told him via email: “I have had some interesting chats these past weeks, but my focus remains fully on the Saints for now.”
Krueger first took the chairmanship at Saints and its parent company, St Mary's Football Group Limited, after returning from the 2014 Winter Olympics, where he was a consultant for the gold-medal winning Canadian ice hockey team.
The following year, when he took the role to coach Team Europe, he stated that his return to hockey would not change anything for him at Saints.
“This is not going to affect my role at Southampton,” he said at the time. “If anything, it will educate me.”
He added: “I care that we’re really transparent here so that [the fans] understand the process, that this is not going to affect Southampton Football Club at all – zero.”
These reports come amid ongoing talk of a takeover of Saints by Chinese company, Lander Holdings.
It was thought earlier this week that any deal was off but, as reported by the Daily Echo, talks between representatives of club owner Katharina Liebherr and potential Chinese investors are still underway.