International Ice Hockey Federation

Fischer needs results

Fischer needs results

Can Swiss create silver magic again?

Published 06.05.2017 13:05 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Fischer needs results
Switzerland's Andres Ambuhl gets ready for the game. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It had been nearly two decades since a non-Canadian coached the Swiss team, so there was optimism last year when former player Patrick Fischer took over.

A disappointing 11th-place finish, though, has dampened the Swiss spirits and put extra importance on this year’s tournament.


At 35, Jonas Hiller is closer to the end of his career than beginning, but he had a good year with Biel in the Swiss league and will be playing his first World Championship since 2008. He played at the last two Olympics as well, and his experience will be an important factor for the team. Behind him will be Leonardo Genoni and 22-year-old Niklas Schlegel.


If the names on the blue line seem familiar in a distant sort of way, that’s because coach Fischer has recruited heavily from the team’s junior programs of the last several years. Raphael Diaz is the one rock who has been with the team at various levels for more than a decade, and Philippe Furrer isn’t far behind. But the common thread is youth with a bit of international experience. Ramon Untersander, Dave Sutter, Dominik Schlumpf, and Dean Kukan all fit into this category. Joel Genazzi is a real shot in the dark. The 29-year-old has been with Lausanne for several years but has never donned a Swiss sweater in IIHF competition. The “old rookie” will be eager to prove his worth.


The unstoppable Andres Ambuhl is playing his way into the IIHF record books. This will be his 14th consecutive World Championship appearance going back to 2004, and at 33 he may have a few more left in him. Denis Hollenstein and Kevn Romy are the only other mainstays, but Fischer has revamped the forwards in the same manner as the blue line. Denis Malgin is making his senior debut after a lengthy career in U18 and U20. But the list of newcomers to the senior team is long—Chris Baltisberger, Fabrice Herzog, Vincent Praplan, Tanner Richard, and Pius Suter among them. It’s clear Fischer is considering the program ahead of any other criteria in the hopes that experience with the Swiss team at the junior level will carry up to greater results with the seniors. 


Patrick Fischer has crafted a team with great thought and precision. He has enough experience on the roster so he youngsters won’t be overwhelmed by the occasion, but his goal is to give the whole national team a makeover. In the past, the World Championship roster was heavy with years and years of experience, but often short of results, so there’s no reason not to applaud Fischer’s audacity. 

Projected Results

With good goaltending and timely scoring the Swiss can qualify for the quarter-finals, after which anything is possible. Playing in Paris (bien sur!), they aren’t likely to push Canada, the Czechs, or Finland out of the way, but their other opponents—Belarus, Slovenia, Norway, and France—are all within striking distance. A solid 4th-8th finish could well be expected.


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