From football to ice hockey – Lichtsteiner joins HC Lugano
Not a premature April joke: Ex-Nati captain Stephan Lichtsteiner (37) becomes a member of the HC Lugano board of directors.
On Friday, Lugano owner and president Vicky Mantegazza will solemnly announce the novelty as part of the derby against Ambri: Stephan Lichtsteiner will join the board of directors of her HC Lugano.
Since the board of directors is the highest management body of a stock corporation, we can call Stephan Lichtsteiner a “football general” without exaggeration and pathos.
On the green turf he is truly a titan: With 108 federal appearances, one of only four Swiss with 100 or more international matches. The others are Heinz Hermann (117), Alain Geiger (112) and Stéphane Chapuisat (103).
The connection is called Juventus
The hockey business is unlikely to impress the former captain of the national team. In 2011 Juventus Turin paid a transfer fee of ten million euros for his commitment. That is more money than Ambri spends on wages over an entire season. The investment paid off: Juventus won seven titles with Stephan Lichtsteiner.
In this case, Juve is the “link” between football and hockey. Mantegazza is a supporter of the legendary Italian club and that’s how she got to know Lichtsteiner. He once got her an original camisole.
Switching from football to ice hockey or vice versa is unusual, but not unique. Ralph Krueger (62) has been a long-time ice hockey coach at Southampton FC in the most important football league in the world and has become executive president.
Lugano’s dream of finally being “grande” again
In Lugano, Lichtsteiner does not get a position comparable to that of Krueger in English football. He “only” becomes a member of the Board of Directors without power of attorney in day-to-day business. Its meaning is similar to that of the wonderful flower arrangements in front of the wonderful farmhouses in the Emmental: an ornament, a sign that you are well-off and wealthy, that you keep your house in order and that you have extensive relationships.
Big names belong to the “Grande Lugano”. And who knows: Maybe Stephan Lichtsteiner will talk to Ralph Krueger on the phone one day. The two can first share their experiences in the football business without any obligation.
And why not take this opportunity to inquire about your future plans? Krueger has just been fired as a trainer in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabers. The naturalized German-Canadian would like to continue working as a coach. He still has his center of life in Switzerland.
The “Grande Lugano” should not only have big names on the board of directors. It would be time again for a big name to join the gang. The waiting time for the next title has simply become too long: Lugano won the championship for the last time in 2006.
Of lions and sheep
This big name is neither the current coach Serge Pelletier nor the currently unemployed Chris McSorley, who busily spreads the rumor that he will move to Lugano.
Actually, Vicky Mantegazza should have made a name for herself on the gang with the charisma of Ralph Krueger. That would be an “axis of fame”: At the top of the board of directors Stephan Lichtsteiner and at the bottom of the gang Ralph Krueger.
There is a wonderful Italian phrase that fits Lugano’s coaching situation: “Meglio un giorna da un leone che cento da pecora” (“better one day like a lion than a hundred like a sheep”).
Transferred to Luganos: Better to have a real trainer – a lion – than countless sheep on the gang over the years. The last true lions in Lugano’s gang were Larry Huras and Harold Kreis in the spring of 2006. 15 years ago!
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Forget about Otten. Forget about lions. The absolutely coolest animals are – goats!
Speaking of Lugano: do you know the most beautiful swimming pools in Switzerland?
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