A change of style in the German ice hockey champion. The quiet Pat Cortina has to go, the Grizzlies officially announced early Tuesday. Mike Stewart is the successor. The 48-year-old is aggressive. And shepherds in summer as well.
Long-term dice were thrown at manager Charlie Fliguf’s office when the thumb became too long when it came to extending contracts with Cortina, but because a tight schedule complicated a change of coach (possibly with quarantine) Gone or wasted, the Wolfsburg Grizzlies continued with head coach Pat Cortina.
The fact that the Grizzlies were surprisingly runner-ups didn’t change anything. Now comes Mike Stewart, a very different man from the quiet Pat Cortina. Unlike his predecessor, who wanted to convey the material quickly and fluently, when preferring to use English, Stewart speaks German fluently. He also played as a professional in the AHL in Canada, among others, but spent a large part of his career in German-speaking countries, was active for Villachter SV in Austria, and was also a coach there.
In Germany, Stewart once played a season in the DEL for the Frankfurt Lions, and later coached the Fishtown Pingins in the 2nd division. He was the second division champion and coach of the year with the Bremhaviers. The next station was the Augsburg Panthers in DEL, before he followed the call of the big club to Cologne. He failed the Sharks, after a 17-defeat series ended before the end of the 19/20 season. The first rivals after him were the Grizzlies. Cologne wins.
Stewart’s teams play aggressively. Coaches are considered to be workaholic and discipline fanatics. He once said of himself in the Corner Express: “Five percent I’m a psychopath and also a clown”. He likes fast and strong players.
As a player, Stewart was a defender, and a tough on him. 100 penalty minutes per season were not uncommon. As a young professional, he was enrolled in a boxing school. Hence the nickname “Iron Mike”, based on professional boxing champion Mike Tyson. Stewart Fights did not refrain from snow on ice, sewed on the face several times, but also says: “I still have all my teeth.”
In summer, the father of three prefers to take rest in holding saddles or cows. His father was a rodeo rider, Ran a farm, which still runs Stewart’s uncle. Ice hockey coach helps in summer.
Stewart is married to Tara and has two daughters (Brian and Avery) and a son (Jack). He is considered communicative and eloquent, but in an interview with Augsberger Allgemine he also once said: “I am the boss.” There can be no democracy in a locker room with 20 ice hockey professionals.
In Wolfsburg, a style change is cruising on ice. Whether or not one of the imports, Mathis Olim, Pekka Jormakka, Matt Järvinen and Max Goertz, will depend on their vote. It is possible that Stewart will reinvigorate the North American element. Grizzly Captain Sebastian Furchaner says: “I will leave my involvement in Bremerhaven, in Cologne, where I met him briefly during a visit, and in Augsburg he played aggressive ice hockey. I’m looking forward to it.” But, he said, “First and foremost, you want to play successfully regardless of orientation.”
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