Towards Maple League 2018: New offensive line coach from Austria

Daniel Stanzel joins Roosters coaching staff

Helsinki Roosters has signed Daniel Stanzel to be new offensive line coach for season 2018. He started his playing career in Vienna Vikings at age 13. His career includes four years in Simon Fraser University with full football scholarship, but otherwise he represented Vienna Vikings his whole playing career. Daniel has also played for Austrian U-19 and men’s national teams. He started coaching 2006 in Vikings youth teams. 2016 he started coaching in Luzern Lions in Swiss NLB (division II) as an offensive coordinator. The team won last season in finals and qualified to Swiss top level NLA.

A new coach from another league and another country might give some new perspective for old routines. Helsinki Roosters head coach Juha Hakala is convinced Daniel will fit well in his coaching staff.

– It’s great to have this talented and young coach in our coaching staff. Daniel is a great addition and I believe he can enhance our OL players skill set to a new level.

Here are some quick answers from Daniel Stanzel.

In Austria soccer is probably more common sport than American football. What made you choose American football instead of soccer?

– I actually really enjoy playing soccer but always disliked the culture surrounding it here in Austria. I think I quit soccer by the time I was 12 and decided to focus on video games and candy instead. When I started to look a bit “bigger” my dad forced me to do sports again. By chance the practice field of the Vienna Vikings was right next to the house I grew up in.

– I still remember my first practice in pads. They messed up my age (I guess since I was 13 years old and 190 centimeters tall) and I was doing tackling drills with adults. It was the first time I tasted turf… a lot of turf.

What inspired you to change from player to coach?

– After I went through a 15-0 season, winning the Euro Bowl and Austrian Bowl, with the Vienna Vikings, I decided to hang’em up as they say and move on from football. I worked, travelled and did my Master’s degree. I think in those two years I did not even touch a football.

– But I still loved the game and everything it has to offer.  I realized how much it meant to me and how it helped me to become who I am today. I wanted to give back and be part of it again. So in 2015, when the Lucerne Lions called and offered me to be their OC I packed my bags and moved to Switzerland a month later.

What made you choose Finland and Helsinki Roosters?

– My good friends Dustin Illetschko and Benji Bubik both played in Finland and for the Roosters. They always go on about how much they enjoyed their time here and how I should coach there if I have a chance. I also played with Roosters legend Tuomas Nurmi in Canada for a year. I was very impressed about how well he did in his Rookie Year, which meant he must have come from a good youth program. In addition, in the fall of 2015 I actually came to visit Helsinki and met a few of the players and Juha. I knew then that I would love to be part of the Roosters family and work for Juha.

What are your expectations for the Maple League?

– I think it is a very competitive and physical league. Football has been in Finland for quite some time and the level of football is higher than in most countries in Europe. The Roosters have managed to be the best team in Finland and I expect other teams to come after us with everything they got. A lot of work needs to be done to stay on top and I cannot wait to get started with the guys.

Any message to Roosters fans?

– I am so very excited to meet all the fans and families. I know what it is like to go out on the field and have people supporting every step you take. It is an amazing and unique feeling. Please know I am already thankful for all the support and I will do everything I can to help the team bring another trophy to the great city of Helsinki.

Daniel joins the team in January. Helsinki Roosters warmly welcomes Coach Stanzel to Finland! Willkommen Daniel!

Roosters coaching staff 2018
Head coach Juha Hakala
Team manager Leena Vehkomäki
Defense
DC Kalle Karppinen
DL Victor Sarvi
LB Sampo Ranta
DB Pekka Rantala
Offense
OC Mikko Koikkalainen
OL Daniel Stanzel
QB Oskari Niemi
RB Jens Holmström
WR Julius Majander
Speed, Strength & Physio
Mika Mäkynen
Kimmo Valariutta
Mika Murtoniemi
Olli Jussila
Jarkko Pajarinen, doctor

Text: Pekka Lylyharju
Photo: John Faber