Former Swiss women’s goalie Florence Schelling was named general manager of one of the nation’s top men’s professional teams, SC Bern, on Wednesday.
At 31, Schelling becomes the first woman elevated to such a high-profile front-office personnel position of a men’s pro hockey team in Switzerland.
A four-time Olympian, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Games, Schelling’s hiring comes after spending the past year serving as coach of the Switzerland’s Under-18 women’s team. And the move comes after SC Bern failed to defend its title by missing the playoffs and finishing ninth in the standings.
“For us, it was important to have a young, intelligent and visionary person. In our thoughts it was irrelevant whether this person would be male or female,” team CEO Marc Luthi said, in a release. “More important is that person knows something about hockey.”
Schelling, who spent part of her career playing in men’s professional leagues, is also familiar with the Swiss league after serving as an analyst for Swiss TV.
“I was surprised like all of you when I received the call from Marc Luthi,” Schelling said. “I knew immediately that I wanted to accept the challenge. My main goal is to do a good job and bring SC Bern back to the top.”
Schelling spent her college years in the U.S. playing for Northeastern University, and then played three years in Sweden. After making her international debut as a 15-year-old at the 2004 women’s world championships, she retired after the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
She joins a limited list of women making inroads in men’s hockey.
In 2018, the Toronto Maple Leafs hired former Canadian star Hayley Wickenheiser to serve as assistant director of player development. Last year, Seattle’s NHL expansion team hired former U.S. captain Cammi Granato as a pro scout.
In Europe, Vicky Mantegazza succeeded her father as president of Switzerland’s HC Lugano. Jenny Silfverstrand was named the Swedish Hockey League’s CEO last week after holding the same position with the league’s Djurgarden Stockholm.
For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports