Swiss Ice Hockey

The state of Switzerland's junior hockey sector might also have an impact on HC Fribourg-Gottéron's future.

"It is weak, very weak," head coach and team manager Christian Dubé tells Le Matin Dimanche when asked about Swiss junior hockey. "The role of a father is to give the best keys to his children [...]. In the family, we talk about the possibility of returning to Canada at the end of my contract, in a year's time, so that the boys can develop in a more competitive environment."

This is not something he only considers for his family, but what he also advised others to do. If he sees potential in a young player, he advises them to go to Sweden or Canada, as they usually have better chances to make it in the National League after a few years abroad.

Gerd Zenhäusern, who is responsible for HCFG's youth sector, also talks about the difficulties they face in junior hockey, noting that in Sweden and Canada there is a better structure in place for junior hockey players. They are able to study while also playing in a competitive environment: "At home, it's more complicated. Those who manage to do so often go to a private school."

Lars Weibel, Director National Teams, also speaks about the importance of their youth sector: "We have a popular and spectacular league, but we must preserve Swissness." Integrating more junior hockey players into the first teams would thus be the solution.

However, that is easier said than done, says Christian Dubé: "With the current regulations, it is not possible to do this. There is no miracle: ambition and development are hardly compatible." However, changes would have to be done if the National League would change to a different system: "If a salary cap was imposed on us, we would have no choice."

( 19 December 2021 | mso )