German Elite League Hockey * English coverage of Germany's DEL Deutsche Eishockey Liga
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Krefeld axes championship coach
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Dezember 12, 2003; 14:15
Krefeld axes championship coach
Goring forced to step down from head coaching position
Frank Johne

Butch Goring will remain with the Krefeld Pinguine
Goring will remain with the Pinguine organisation

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Munich, Germany - Just eight months after leading the Krefeld Pinguine to their first-ever championship in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Butch Goring was forced to step down from his head coaching position Thursday night. The club’s front office reacted to the team’s recent slump and installed former Latvian national coach Haralds Vasiljevs as the new coach.

Four-time Stanley Cup winner Robert T. Goring
Happy days: Just eight months ago, Butch Goring celebrated his first-ever DEL title
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

The 53-year-old Goring, who was also in charge of player personnel, will remain with the organisation, in a position yet to be determined.

“We thought that this was the only way to salvage our season”, Pinguine GM Wolfgang Schäfer commented on the decision.

The team had undergone a huge revamp during the off-season: 15 players, including top scorers Christoph Brandner (now with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild) and Brad Purdie (Hamburg Freezers) left, only eight players from the championship squad remained on the roster.

After starting out 7-12, the Krefeld Pinguine posted a four-game win streak in late November, including three road victories over playoff contenders. However the team fell into a slump again, having lost three out of four since. Halfway through the season, the Pinguine (13-15/35 points) are 11th in the DEL standings, already eight points away from a playoff berth.

Cinderella run crowned with first-ever DEL title

Butch Goring, a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the New York Islanders, was initially hired as director of player personnel by Krefeld in the summer of 2002. He injected new life into a team that had talent but no spirit when he assumed head coaching duties from Chris Valentine in late November 2002. After a Cinderella playoff run, he led the Krefeld Pinguine to their first ever DEL title in April.

The Manitoba-native had made his DEL debut as an interim head coach with the Frankfurt Lions in 2001-02.

“Some of the championships I was involved in, we had the best team and were expected to win,” Goring told back in April. “But the Krefeld Pinguine weren’t expected to win. We almost didn’t get into the playoffs and each and every round, everybody kept saying: As long as you make a good showing, everybody would be happy. We kept making a better showing. To win as an underdog certainly has a special meaning for me.”

Vasiljevs already in charge

51-year-old Harald Vasiljevs, father of former NHLer Herbert Vasiljevs, was already in charge of Friday’s morning practice. His contract will run through the end of the season.

This marks the second time that Vasiljevs has head coaching duties in Krefeld. He worked seven games as an interim head coach in the 2000-01 campaign.

44-year-old Saskatchewan-native Gary Clarke will keep his job as assistant head coach.
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