Canada tags Martin Rufener to head alpine programs
The post-season coaching shifts have reached North American shores. Canada announced today (March 18) Martin Rufener has been named Alpine Director. He will oversee both the men's and women's alpine programs.
Rufener, 54, is well known in North America. He coached the US women's program in the 1980's and worked with the Canadian men's team in the early 1990's. He also served with his native Switzerland, joining the national ski program in 2004 and playing an instrumental role in transforming the struggling program into a contender with Didier Defago, Didier Cuche and Carlo Janka winning multiple titles and medals under his charge. He left the Swiss program after the 2010 season and has since served as CEO and helicopter pilot for Swiss-Jet.
Alpine Canada President Max Gartner called the appointment of Rufener “a huge coup,” adding, “What he brings to Canada is a real understanding of ski racing in Europe and what is needed to compete at the elite level.”
“Martin brings an amazing track record of building the Swiss program into a powerhouse,” said Gartner. “They won the overall with Janka, Olympic gold medals in Vancouver, world championship medals – everything.”
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Canada and helping the men’s and women’s teams get to the highest level – to the very top,” said Rufener. “We will be focusing in the short term on Sochi 2014 but at the same time we want to look at the next generation – the athletes who will compete in 2018 – and make sure we have success in the next Olympic cycle.”
The team's most visible star, Erik Guay is supportive of the move. “He’s had huge success with the Swiss team in the past. He was the brains behind that team,” said Guay.
“I think it’s past time that we started recruiting coaches from the big nations. You see it all the time in hockey when the European teams hire Canadian coaches,” added Guay, the 2010 super-G Crystal Globe winner and 2011 world downhill champion. “It will be good to have his connections.”