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Florence Schelling, the first woman to play at the second level of the Swiss men’s hockey league, is now a general manager at the top level.
SC Bern said Wednesday that Schelling would be named the team’s new sports director. Schelling, 31, will take over after Easter and gradually increase her workload as she continues her recovery from a skiing accident.
"We wanted someone who was visionary, young and intelligent," SC Bern CEO Marc Luthi said. It didn't matter whether that person was male or female. It was much more important that this person understood hockey. ”
Schelling is believed to be the first woman to be the director of a top-level men’s hockey team. A former women’s national team goalie, she was in the net as the Swiss women’s team won the bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
SC Bern missed playoffs
Schelling was appointed to her role as SC Bern looks to fix what went wrong during the 2019-20 season. The team finished ninth out of 12 teams after winning the 2019 title and three out of the last four National League championships.
SC Bern is the most successful team in the Swiss National League and has an arena capacity of over 17,000. The club has averaged the most fans of any top European hockey league for most of the 2000s.
Schelling recently ended playing career
Schelling, 31, is moving into a front-office role now that her playing career is over. She played for the Swiss National Team from 2005-19 and played in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Olympics. She also played college hockey at Northeastern, where she started for three seasons.
In an interview for a story about the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, Schelling noted how the simple term “hockey” is used to refer to the men’s game and “women’s hockey” is used when women play and said that the differences between the men’s game and women’s game were “marginal.” That viewpoint should serve her well in her new career.
If there are differences, they are marginal, and often in the context of physical contact. “While for men, body checking is a crucial tool, for women, skating and making tactically astute moves play a more significant role,” Schelling says, always a passionate promoter of her sport. The women’s game could possibly be the more technical, Schelling believes. “For hockey fans, it’s all just a game of hockey,” she says.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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