Roy Johansen will leave the Norwegian national team after 15 years and be succeeded by Petter Thoresen. Photos: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images, Christian Robaeys
Thoresen new Norway coach as of June
His 15th season will be his last. Head coach Roy Johansen will leave the Norwegian national team and will be replaced by Petter Thoresen.
“The NIHF is very glad to have found a new national coach that early and we are sure that Petter Thoresen is the right man to continue the work with the national team,” said Ottar Eide, the General Secretary of the Norwegian Ice Hockey Association.
Come the 2016 Worlds in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Johansen will have coached Norway in 15 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (including Division I), that’s more than the numbers Viktor Tikhonov (13, Soviet Union and Russia) and Ralph Krueger (12, Switzerland) reached.
Johansen took over the team after it was relegated from the top division in 2001. In his fourth year he led it back to the elite nations and since joining in 2006 the Norwegians have established themselves in the top division and reached the quarter-finals three times (2008, 2011, 2012). During Johansen’s era Norway also qualified for the Olympic Winter Games in 2010 and 2014.
Thoresen signed a three-year contract as new national coach on Friday valid as of 1 June 2016. Like Johansen he’s a highly distinguished coach in Norway having won 14 national championships as a player and coach with Valerenga Oslo, the Storhamar Dragons and the Stavanger Oilers. With the Oilers he has most recently won four consecutive Norwegian titles and the 2014 IIHF Continental Cup. In half a year he will leave his club to work with the national team.
“It’s a great feeling. I was on the national team for so many years and now I will coach it,” Thoresen said at a press conference. “We have been with the top nations for a while so we have further ambitions but those I keep for myself.”
As a player Thoresen played 96 international games, fifth most among Norwegian players, including five Olympic Winter Games between 1980 and 1994. On the ice his sons Patrick and Steffen followed into his footsteps and represented Norway internationally. Patrick Thoresen also played two NHL seasons for the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Coach Thoresen’s first mission will be to lead Norway to the Olympics for the third consecutive time. Norway will host one of the Final Olympic Qualification tournaments in early September in a group that includes France, Kazakhstan and a qualifier to be determined in February.