It was announced Tuesday that Tor-Arne Hetland will not return as the Canadian World Cup Coach in the 2015/2016 season. Don’t think his loss of a job means he’s unemployed, however, as the Norwegian is headed back to his home country to take over the position of National Team Coach.
The Norwegian press reported Wednesday that Hetland will replace Steinar Mundal as Norway’s National Team Coach. He will work closely with Head Coach Trond Nystad throughout the season from his post centered in Trondheim.
According to Nystad, the new appointment is no surprise as the Norwegian staff has considered Hetland a strong candidate for some time. “We have had talks with Tor-Arne awhile considering a replacement for Steinar Mundal. He has accumulated much experience abroad with good results,” Nystad told Langrenn.com.
The 41-year-old is a gold medalist in the 2002 individual sprint at the Salt Lake games. His other accolades include a silver in the 2006 Olympic team sprint and five World Championships medals – three gold, a silver, and a bronze. He retired from racing in 2009 due to a knee injury and asthma.
Hetland jumped into coaching the same year as his retirement with a position on the German team. In 2010 he was named the Swiss sprint coach and remained there until 2014, when both he and his wife, Guri Hetland, ended their contracts with the team. After the departure Hetland ultimately landed in Canada where he was the World Cup Coach for the 2014/2015 season.
According to Hetland, his international coaching experience will provide him the necessary tools to be the Norwegian National Team Coach, a posiiton he doesn’t take lightly. “I think I have gained enough experience internationally to come home to Norway. Now I’m ready for my biggest challenge as a coach,” he said to Langrenn.com.
“I feel privileged to work in Norway with so many great cross country skiers. This I have been looking forward to for many years, and now I get the chance,” he added.