A few years after departing Sweden to coach curlers in Scotland and Canada, Viktor Kjell is headed to Switzerland.
The former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist competitor has been named national coach of the Swiss Curling Association.
“I am delighted to be able to work with such a great association and talented athletes,” Kjell said in a SWISSCURLING statement. “I am honored that SWISSCURLING chose me as a coach and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to lead the teams to further successes.”
The Whitby, Ont. resident coached Team Jennifer Jones to their Beijing Olympic berth last season, and recently stepped aside in advance of today’s announcement.
Veteran Canadian competitor Glenn Howard, who has coached Scotland’s Eve Muirhead in the past, has replaced Kjäll on the new Team Jones, which captured the recent PointsBet Invitational women’s title in Fredericton.
“I was very happy with Team Jones,” Kjell told The Curling News. “But the last six to eight months, coming off the Olympics, I really missed coaching full time. Then by fluke I heard Switzerland was looking for a new national coach, so I actually reached out to them.
“This was one of those things that I knew I would regret it if I didn’t explore it further.”
While he will stay based in Canada with his family, Kjell has resigned as Curling Manager of Toronto’s Granite Club, a position he held for more than four years. He will meet up in person with his Swiss athletes at training camps and competitions, and maintain regular contact through technology.
Kjell’s shift is just the latest in a series of coaching moves that followed widespread athlete team changes dating back to last spring.
One such change also involved Swedes and Canadians, as two-time Olympic medallists Team Hasselborg have parted ways with Wayne Middaugh.
Middaugh’s replacement is Sweden’s Kristian Lindström—like Kjäll a former Niklas Edin teammate—who had coached in Scotland for a few years and played a strong role in Eve Muirhead’s remarkable road to Olympic gold in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Canadian coach J.D. Lind has departed Japan as national coach after six years, following a three-year stint as a Japan team coach. Two Olympic women’s four-player medals, both secured by Team Fujisawa, were the strongest highlights of his tenure.
When Lind surfaced this fall playing third with Karsten Sturmay’s men’s team, one might have guessed his coaching career was in hold. However, Lind was recently announced as the team coach for the Fujisawa foursome.
Between team and national team coaching duties, Lind has spent almost a decade with Team Fujisawa.
Other coaching changes saw former Curling Canada national development coach Paul Webster depart the organization to become coach of the new Team Brendan Bottcher, while Caleb Flaxey, a former alternate/coach for the Brad Jacobs foursome, has joined the new Team Brad Gushue in a coaching role.
Another former Jacobs team member, Ryan Fry—now competing with Team Mike McEwen—is the coach of the new Tracy Fleury/Rachel Homan foursome.