In what is a groundbreaking hire, SC Bern of the Swiss National League has announced that former national team goaltender Florence Schelling will now serve as sports director and GM. Schelling becomes the first woman to be named GM of a top-tier men’s professional team.
Bern is one of the most popular teams in the world outside of North America and has previously been the home for many NHL talents. Players like Daniel Briere, Dany Heatley, Marc Savard, John Tavares and others from North America have suited up for the club during NHL lockouts, while Swiss-born stars like Roman Josi and Nico Hischier were developed by the organization.
Schelling meanwhile was no slouch on the ice, netminding for the Swiss national team for more than a decade. She appeared in ten World Championships, four Olympics and is one of the best goaltenders in Northeastern University’s history. In 2012 she was named a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the NCAA’s top collegiate player and has twice taken home the Swiss Ice Hockey Woman of the Year award.
In the 2014 Olympics she carried an underdog Swiss team to the bronze medal, stopping 28 of 31 shots in the third-place game against Sweden to win tournament MVP (and best goaltender). It’s hard to find a more decorated women’s hockey player in Switzerland, but this next chapter will be even more notable for Schelling as she takes the reins of a powerhouse National League team. Bern’s arena holds more than 17,000 fans and draws capacity crowds on a regular basis, putting it right on par (or ahead of) many NHL franchises.