A new duo of Finnish coaches and a new strategy, this is the program for Les Brûleurs de Loups. Objectives: more spectacle, youth and, above all, ambition. The Isérois want to shine in Europe!
President Jacques Reboh is clear: “ The time has come to work on a new project for the next four years “. This Monday, April 26, the Burners of Wolves therefore unveiled their new strategy embodied by a duo of newly recruited Finnish coaches.
At 46, Jyrki Aho becomes the head coach of Grenoble. Former defender, trainer for nearly 18 years, the technician from the North arrives with a very nice CV: Champion of Finland, one of the highest championships in the world, in his first season. Jyrki Aho also went through the EBEL and the KHL, the Austrian and Eastern European and Eurasia championships (Russia, Belarus, Latvia to China). China, where he was also the coach of the national hockey team, which has great ambitions, especially in the run-up to the Beijing Games in 2022.
“The arrival of Jyrki is a signal sent to Europe”
A coach chosen from around thirty candidates to succeed Edo Terglav, who remained in office for six years on the Grenoble bench. A longevity record! ” Jyrki has been the head coach of big organizations for a decade and with great success commented Jean-François Dufour, General Manager of BDL. And President Reboh added: It’s one of the best coach profiles we’ve ever had in our league. The arrival of Jyrki is also a signal that we send at European level. That coaches are interested in us is a strong signal. His sporting career was short but his real quality, his real strength, is coaching and management. It’s his real job. And the fact that he comes here also shows that French hockey is gaining in competitiveness “. A strategist, then. A man that his players will follow without flinching because he will be able to federate them. This is the promise carried by Jyrki Aho.
The Grenoble ice rink, the new coach already knows it. Not sure that he has very good memories of it, by the way… In 2015, during the CHL, the Hockey Champions League, his team at the time, the Espoo Blues, lost 1 to 2 against the Isérois who then signed the very first victory in their history in the competition. A good memory, therefore, for the BDL who now hope to experience many others, of the same nature and the same intensity. This is the mission of their new head coach.
More passes, show
A coach who will, in agreement with the club staff, profoundly change the game of the Burners of Wolves. Forgotten, the North American prism and this all-offensive strategy. In the future, the people of Grenoble will follow the example of the game in Northern Europe: ” He will bring a Finnish, Russian style of play. With a lot of puck possession. From now on, we will go back more on the ice to create more space and attack in control “, already projects Jean-François Dufour.
An approach that should delight supporters: “ I have often heard, in the spans of the ice rink, that our game was too systematic. We threw the puck to the bottom and we went there. There, we will find a hockey show a bit like in 2009 (year of a historic quadruple for the BDL, editor’s note). It is in any case the desire of the supporter who speaks », Details Jacques Reboh.
If the supporters should find their account there, the players, they will have to whip: “ For some of our players, this is going to be a shock. We will be much more on the move, more in possession. But I know we have the qualities to do it. He is a very demanding coach who will require a lot of effort but he also wants his players to have fun. “, predicts Jean-François Dufour.
Players who, surprisingly, were consulted when recruiting their new coach. Several locker room executives spoke with him before signing his contract, as Jacques Reboh explains: “ The decision was made with our players who accepted this sports project which will take them out of their comfort zone. “. Damien Fleury, Joël Champagne, Sacha Treille or Kyle Hardy, to name a few, would all have validated the choice of staff.
“They complement each other well”
But in Grenoble Jyrki Aho does not come alone. In his luggage, the new coach brings his assistant, another Finn: Ari-Pekka Siekkinen. The two men know each other, they have already worked together. Ari-Pekka Siekkinen, known as “AP”, ” always delays Jyrki at the right time, they complement each other well “says Jean-François Dufour.
“AP” which will also take responsibility for the specific training of the goalkeepers. This may come as a surprise, but in this regard, the BDLs were a little behind. A gap finally filled! This focus on goalkeepers will benefit not only the two goalkeepers of the professional team but also ” all those of the training center in order to raise the general level “, according to Jacques Reboh.
“All the bad news is over, only the good remains”
Professional goalkeepers who still need to be recruited after the departures of Lukas Horak and Sébastien Raibon. For the past few days, the BDL have surprised the small world of hockey by announcing in quick succession the departures of six of their players, some of whom have become emblematic. A fairly large but ultimately logical wave of non-renewals for Jean-François Dufour: “ The priority for us was to recruit coaches. There are choices still to be made. We will do them with the coaches. Jyrki will have his hands on two or three players he knows well. It is therefore possible that we have Finns joining our dressing room. We will have a great team with great announcements to come. All the bad news is gone, only the good remains “.
Coaches who must, finally, continue to offer a good place to the youth of Grenoble. Several young players have distinguished themselves in recent months alongside their elders. The club’s desire seems to be to keep them and ” give them a little more responsibility every year “.
An ambitious program, therefore. Program whose supporters are no doubt already eager to gauge the results on the ice. Because before shining in CHL and earning their place in Europe, the BDL must remain masters in their home, the Magnus League. ” Our goal is simple: win a title every three years, if not every two years » explained Jacques Reboh. A very clear president. Until the end.