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Ice hockey: Comment: The Welsches are no longer popular in the Swiss team


Geneva’s Damien Riat is the only Romand selected for the World Championship in Finland. Patrick Fischer’s group face Italy on Saturday (3:20 p.m.).

Damien Riat is the only Roman survivor in the Swiss team.

Pascal Muller/freshfocus

Romands in selection? Which Romans?

Ah yes, there is one: Damien Riat, “surprise” guest of a Swiss team who is aiming for a place in the Top 4 at the World Cup in Finland and will have to learn to manage without Roman Josi, who has withdrawn for family reasons.

The Genevan from Lausanne HC has completed a good preparation phase for the World Championship and has particularly stood out during the last three test matches. He is the only Roman survivor in the Swiss team this year.

Damien Riat is certainly not the one we expected the most this year, but here he is all the same back at a big tournament for the first time since 2019.

The other Welsches? By magnifying the line a little: “Poutzés”! Hop, broom!

They were four at the Olympics last February (Hofmann, Haas, Loeffel and Mottet), but all were ruled out for the World Championship.

“The team did not have the fire” during the last Olympics, regretted coach Patrick Fischer a few weeks ago, during a press briefing in Cham (Zug).

Have the culprits been unmasked? There is obviously a step that we will not take in these columns…

The fact remains that only one French-speaking hockey player has been called up for the World Championship, that’s very meager. They were still five in 2021 at CM in Latvia (Loeffel, Hofmann, Mottet, Rod, Praplan) and even six in 2019 in Slovakia (Loeffel, Haas, Hofmann, Rod, Praplan and Riat).

Cut off or not summoned

Gregory Hofmann? Not selected, on the pretext that the Zug striker needs a rest after a complicated season (failed passage to the NHL, return to Switzerland, failed Olympics, average form in the play-off, champion title with Zug). It’s true, the Bernese Jura player has not been outstanding in recent weeks. Despite everything, he remains the best French-speaking player in the country.

Gaetan Haas? The Biel also needs rest according to the official version. Another version, reported by the NZZ, says that his non-selection is above all due to a stormy interview with the coach just after the Olympics. Haas would he have told Patrick Fischer some truths which the coach would have tasted little?

Romain Loeffel? The routine, powerplay specialist, was cut off during the last cut. Neophytes Andrea Glauser (Lausanne) and Dominik Egli (Davos) were preferred to him. Yet Loeffel was one of the most consistent Swiss backs at the Olympics and has never disappointed in his national team appearances in recent years. At 31, is Chaux-de-Fonnier already paying the price for the rejuvenation policy wanted by Fischer and especially Lars Weibel, the director of the national teams? 31 is young, right?

Killian Mottet? Dismissed too, when he had nevertheless proved in Beijing that he could be an effective and interesting attacker for the selection in a role of offensive joker. In his place, Fischer chose Marco Miranda (Genève-Servette), an honest player from the National League championship. With the Swiss team, Mottet never really got a chance to shine and showcase his scoring skills. Shame…

Noah Rod? As in February when he hoped to participate in the Olympics, the captain of the GSHC did not pass the last cut. For the second time in a row, Rod was ejected from the selection at the very last moment. Hard to take. Nando Eggenberger (Rapperswil), cut off in the meantime, and his teammate in Geneva, Marco Miranda, have more qualities in the eyes of the coach. Rod is however an experienced player of duty and energy who could certainly have given valuable helping hands, especially in numerical inferiority.

Simon LeCoultre? Here is a very interesting 22-year-old defender who could have possibly benefited from a first call-up to a major tournament as an apprenticeship and as an investment for future tournaments. The Vaudois of the GSHC, author of good performances during the last test matches, was cut off at the same time as Mottet, last Friday. The competition in defense was, it is true, particularly tough with the presence of three NHL reinforcements (Moser, Kukan, Siegenthaler).

Another example, that of Dave Sutter: ignored. The Valais back of the Dragons played great play-offs under the jersey of Gottéron. He who was still at the gates of the selection in 2017 just before the Paris tournament did not even get a second chance to assert himself during the preparation phase, just after the elimination of the Dragons. Didn’t he deserve at least a look?

Definitely, hockey players from Romandie are no longer popular with the Swiss team these days.

Guardians (3): Sandro Aeschlimann (HC Davos), Reto Berra (Fribourg-Gotteron), Leonardo Genoni (EV Zug).

Defenders (8): Dominik Egli (HC Davos), Michael Fora (Ambri), Tobias Geisser (Hershey Bears), Andrea Glauser (Lausanne HC), Dean Kukan (Columbus Blue Jackets), Christian Marti (ZSC Lions), Janis Moser (Arizona Coyotes), Jonas Siegenthaler (New Jersey Devils).

Forwards (14): Andres Ambühl (HC Davos), Christoph Bertschy (Lausanne HC), Enzo Corvi (HC Davos), Fabrice Herzog (EV Zug), Nico Hischier (New Jersey Devils), Philipp Kurashev (Chicago Blackhawks), Denis Malgin (ZSC Lions), Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks), Marco Miranda (Geneva-Servette), Damien Riat (Lausanne HC), Tristan Scherwey (CP Bern), Dario Simion (EV Zug), Pius Suter (Detroit Red Wings), Calvin Thürkauf (Lugano) .

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