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This is the new man in the Merano gang. © B. Wippert/PM HCM

First at Bozen, then Pustertal-Errtum, now coach in Meran

HC Meran Pircher has signed an experienced Canadian as its new coach. He was already behind the gang in Bolzano and had actually already reached an agreement with HC Pustertal.

HC Meran has presented Tom Coolen as its new head coach. With the Canadian comes a lot of experience to the spa town. He is 69 years old and has now four decades as a coach under his belt.

Coolen began his career as a coach in North American university leagues, later he was head coach in the two highest leagues in Germany (Kaufbeuren, Bremerhaven), in the then EBEL (Feldkirch), Denmark (Frederikshavn) and various clubs in Poland, Slovakia and most recently Romania employed. As an assistant coach, he served, among others, in the Canadian national team, in Latvia's selection, in the top Swiss league and with the Buffalo Sabers in the NHL.

Trainer in Bruneck – or not?

Coolen also made one stop in South Tyrol: in the 2001/02 season he joined HC Bozen. At the end of a turbulent season, Coolen and his protégés around Alexander Egger, Martin Pavlu, Enrico Dorigatti and Co. got stuck in the semi-finals.

Tom Coolen with the Chelodi brothers Armando (l.) and Enrico (r.) on the Bolzano bench. © D/Archive

Curious: Five years after his short-term engagement in Bozen, Coolen was presented as a coach at HC Pustertal, but the Canadian never took up his position in Bruneck. Since agreement could not be reached on some contractual points, Coolen was replaced at HCP by the Swede Jens Hellberg that same summer.
“I was in contact with over 20 coaches.” HCM President Stefan Kobler

Now it's actually Coolen's second South Tyrol engagement in Merano. “I have been in contact with over 20 coaches and am of the opinion that Tom is exactly the right person for us. Although he is no longer the youngest, he is still fully motivated. With his experience, he has everything he needs to bring our team forward,” said HCM President Stefan Kobler in a press release. He allows Coolen to benefit from another criterion: “Tom is also a teacher in Canada and so he knows very well how to teach certain things. Because in addition to ice hockey, other factors are also important that contribute to success.”


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