Jim Hiller and Scott Beattie have been by each other's side for longer than either have been with their wives.
They played on the same line at Northern Michigan University, winning a national title in 1990-91.
They were on the same line when they played professionally in Germany and Italy, and they served as each other's best man.
The last two years, Beattie has been the Tri-City Americans associate coach, working with Hiller, who has been the head coach for three years.
Monday, Beattie tendered his resignation with the Americans to take the head coaching job with EHC Olten of Switzerland's National League B.
"It was really hard to leave because of the way I was treated by Bob (Tory) and the ownership group," Beattie said. "I enjoyed my time there. It was a tough decision, but you have to take the opportunity when they come."
The Swiss team first contacted Beattie when the Americans were playing the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League Western Conference finals.
He ask them to wait until the season was over.
EHC Olten is the equivalent of the American Hockey League, so the move is a step up.
"I really enjoy being around the players. Saying good-bye to them is the most difficult thing," Beattie said. "Now, I'll use my craft to coach and I won't have to make curfew calls."
Hiller said he was happy for his longtime friend, but will miss him.
"It was so great to work together the last couple of years," Hiller said. "It was too good an opportunity for him to pass up at a high level of hockey. Today, I'm happy for Scott."
Beattie said the hardest part of leaving is not working with Hiller anymore.
"We have been friends for a really long time," Beattie said. "But I was excited to tell him. I am so full of appreciation of who I've worked with the last couple of years. To work with Jim really opened my eyes. I owe him a lot. He made me understand more about a sport we both love so much."
While at Northern Michigan, Hiller was Beattie's wing man for three years. A talented centerman, Beattie had 106 goals and 116 assists in 122.
He was twice a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (given to the NCAA's best player).
Beattie is no stranger to hockey in Europe, having played in Italy, Germany and Switzerland for 13 years.
He won four Italian Series A League championships (Bolzano Foxes: 1996, Milan Vipers: 2002, 2003, 2004).
In more than 300 international games, Beattie had 206 goals and 276 assists.
"When we went the first time, it was she and I and the dog," Beattie said of his wife Christine. "I think she is looking forward to it."
The dog is gone, but Beattie and his wife have three kids to pack up and take to Switzerland -- daughters Hope, 13, and Noa, 5, and son Fynn, 2.
"It will be nice to be together," said Beattie, whose family stayed in Cranbrook, British Columbia, when he started coaching in Tri-City.