Oilers Coach Fired Over Skype

June 10, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Edmonton Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger was fired via video chat service Skype.

Krueger was nearly 5,000 miles away in Switzerland when the team told him they were letting him go.

“I’d never been fired in 24 years as a hockey coach, and it was the first time I’d had a conversation with Craig MacTavish by Skype,” Krueger, 53, told the Ottawa Sun.

Krueger, who had two years on his contract, said the firing was a surprise.

“I definitely did not see it coming,” said Krueger. “Craig and I spent a good part of the week together at the world championships in both Helsinki and Stockholm. There were eight or nine days on the road together with no sign of dismissal,” he added.

The former coach further elaborated on the experience of being fired from thousands of miles away.

“This past Thursday he had requested that I accept him on Skype so that he could Skype me,” Krueger told Canada’s TSN, according to CBS Sports. “When the conversation began it went to business very quickly and he was quite clear with the message that he felt it was necessary … for him to hire a new head coach. And that’s the way it went.”

He added: “The conversation was short. … I could feel the decision was final and so it wasn’t necessary really for me to understand it. … It was maximum five minutes and it was done.”

This season, the Oilers went 19-22-7, missing the playoffs for a seventh-straight season.

“Philosophically, I differ somewhat with Ralph, and it doesn’t mean my strategy is right or Ralph’s strategy is right,” Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said, according to the New York Daily News.. “But I’m the general manager, and it’s my job and my decision to make. That’s why I’ve made that decision.”