Ice hockey in Switzerland

Ice hockey in Switzerland is one of the most popular team sports in the country rivaling soccer in terms of attendances and TV ratings.[1][2][3]

Ice hockey in Switzerland
Bern Arena in Switzerland
CountrySwitzerland
Governing bodySwiss Ice Hockey Federation
National team(s)Men's national team
Women's national team
National competitions
National League
Swiss League
MySports League
Swiss 1. Liga
Swiss 2. Liga
Swiss 3. Liga
Swiss 4. Liga
International competitions

History

In September 1908, the Swiss Ice Hockey Association became a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.[4]

The next year the first national championship is played with Bellerive winning it. By the tenth year of the Swiss Ice Hockey Association there are 23 registered members.

In 1922, the Ice Hockey European Championships is hosted in St. Moritz and two years later Davos holds the first Spengler Cup.

In 1924, the Switzerland men's national ice hockey team participated in the first ice hockey Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix. While four years later they was won the bronze medal. The national team also won the Ice Hockey European Championship 1926 and become silver medalists at the 1935 Ice Hockey World Championships and bronze medalists in 1939 Ice Hockey World Championships.

National league

National League is the highest professional tier in Swiss men's hockey.[5][6][7]

Governing body

The Swiss Ice Hockey Federation organizes amateur and professional ice hockey in the country.[8] The Spengler Cup is one biggest ice hockey tournaments in the country.[9]

Notable Swiss players in the NHL

Although Switzerland is not known for producing a large number of top class hockey players there are quite a few that have gone on to have had success at the professional level. In recent years, the amount of Swiss influence on hockey at the international and NHL level is growing.

David Aebischer

Aebischer was a goaltender drafted in the 6th round by the Colorado Avalanche. Although mostly relegated to backup duties for most of his career he was a member of the Stanley Cup winning Avalanche in the 2001 finals. This was notable as he was the first player from Switzerland to win the Stanley Cup. Aebischer also later played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Phoenix Coyotes along with various Swiss teams.[10]

Mark Streit

Streit was named the 13th captain in New York Islanders franchise history. This was a major milestone for hockey in Switzerland as Streit was the first Swiss player to be named the captain of an NHL franchise. He has also served as the captain of Team Switzerland at the Winter Olympic Games.[11] Streit was drafted in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He also later played with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Montreal Canadians.[12]

Jonas Hiller

Although Hiller went undrafted he was able to have a successful NHL career in which he played in over 400 games. Hiller started his career in Anaheim with the Ducks in 2007. He played in Anaheim for seven years before spending the final two years of his career with the Calgary Flames.[13][14]

Nino Niederreiter

Nino Niederreiter is an NHL forward currently playing for the Carolina Hurricanes. Niederreiter made history in the 2010 NHL draft when he was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders.[15] Although not initially finding much success initially with the Islanders, Niederreiter hit his stride after being traded to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck in 2013 scoring a career high 25 goals in the 2016-2017. [16]

Roman Josi

After being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft by Nashville he made his debut in 2011. Josi made some history in the 2013 World Championships by becoming the first player to win MVP and Best Defenseman for Switzerland in the history of this tournament in route to helping Switzerland earn a Silver Medal. Josi has since played in two NHL All Star games and been named captain of the Predators.[17]

Timo Meier

Meier is among the emerging young group of highly touted Swiss to enter the NHL in recent years. Meier was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. He was able to crack the NHL in the 2016 season and scored a career high 30 goals and 66 points in the 2018-2019 season.[18]

Nico Hischier

After being a major success playing in the QMJHL for Halifax, Hischier was considered a top prospect in his draft class and was ranked number two out of North American Skaters. This was why it was a slight surprise when the New Jersey Devils drafted him over Nolan Patrick in the 2017 draft although he has proven to be more successful than Patrick in terms of games played and scoring.[19] Hischier broke the record for highest drafted Swiss player previously held by Niederreiter when he was selected first overall by the Devils in the 2017 NHL draft.[20]

Other Notable Players

There have been other hockey players of Swiss nationality to have played in the NHL recently and in the past. Some of these include Martin Gerber, Rapheal Diaz, Yannick Weber, Luca Sbisa, Reto Berra, Sven Andreghetto, Kevin Fiala, Denis Malgin, Sven Bartschi, Gaetan Haas, Dean Kukan, and Jonas Siegenthaler. [21][22][23][24]

National team

Traditionally Switzerland hasn't being a powerhouse in world ice hockey but has produced notable players and achievements in ice hockey.[25][26][27]

Women's ice hockey

Female Ice hockey is an amateur pursuit the top league in the country is Switzerland women's ice hockey league.

References

  1. Levy, Patricia; Lord, Richard; Nevins, Debbie (15 July 2015). "Switzerland: Third Edition". Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 20 June 2019 via Google Books.
  2. Bayle, Emmanuel (2007). "Switzerland: The Organisation of Sportand Policy Towards Sport Federations". Serval.unil.ch. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  3. "Attendance 2016-2017". Webarchive.iihf.com. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. King, Tom (28 September 2010). "The Legendary Game - Ultimate Hockey Trivia". Trafford Publishing. Retrieved 21 June 2019 via Google Books.
  5. "For American pros, hockey dream goes beyond NHL borders". USA TODAY. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  6. Söderman, S.; Dolles, H. (1 January 2013). "Handbook of Research on Sport and Business". Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved 21 June 2019 via Google Books.
  7. "Ice hockey". Eda.admin.ch. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  8. Valloni, Lucien W.; Pachmann, Thilo (28 February 2018). "Sports Law in Switzerland". Kluwer Law International B.V. Retrieved 21 June 2019 via Google Books.
  9. "Davos: ice hockey capital for 90 years". House of Switzerland. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  10. "David Aebischer Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  11. "ISLANDERS NAME STREIT TEAM CAPTAIN". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  12. "Mark Streit Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  13. "Jonas Hiller Stats". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  14. "Jonas Hiller Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  15. "NINO NIEDERREITER SIGNS WITH NEW YORK ISLANDERS – WHL Network". Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  16. "Nino Niederreiter Stats". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  17. "Roman Josi Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  18. "Timo Meier". QuantHockey. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  19. "2017 Draft: Nolan Patrick of Brandon ranked No. 1". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  20. "Nico Hischier Stats and News". NHL.com. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  21. KennedyAugust 7, Ryan; 2015 (2015-08-07). "Auston Matthews is going to Switzerland and yes, that's a big deal". TheHockeyNews. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  22. "News National Teams". www.sihf.ch (in German). Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  23. swisshockeynews.ch. "13 Swiss players to start the season in the NHL". swisshockeynews.ch. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  24. "Swiss NHL Players ‑ All-Time Stats". QuantHockey. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  25. "Swiss ice hockey sensation finally puts spotlight on Switzerland". Thelocal.ch. 16 June 2017.
  26. Gerstner, Joanne C. (7 May 2013). "An Encounter in Overtime Highlights the Rise of Swiss Hockey". Retrieved 20 June 2019 via NYTimes.com.
  27. "Sweden tops Switzerland to win hockey worlds". ESPN.com. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2019.


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