Firepower and Swissness
Firepower and Swissness
Patrick Fischer named new national coach
He will be assisted by two other long-time national team forwards, Felix Hollenstein and Reto von Arx.
“As a boy it had always been a dream to play for the national team. I stopped as a player, became a coach and now I’m again with the national team to make another dream come true. It’s a great day for me,” Fischer said at a press conference.
“It was about time to rely on Swiss coaches and to have a clear vision from the men’s national team to the juniors. We will work hard to justify the confidence we got. I’m a proud Swiss, I know the mentality and I can bring players forward.”
“I can work on the national team with friends who I highly respect for what they have reached in their careers. We found each other immediately in the process and we will gel together well as a coaching team. 20 years ago we played together at the World Championship B-Pool in Eindhoven with the last national team coach from Switzerland, Simon Schenk. Since then a lot has happened. We have established ourselves in the top division and we have a lot of great players.”
The 40-year-old signed a contract valid until the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, that will be automatically extended for two more years if Switzerland reaches the quarter-finals. Switzerland will play Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway, Denmark and Kazakhstan in the preliminary round and needs a top-four finish in its group to advance to the final round.
“We want that everybody can identify themselves with the Swiss national team and we hope for the best possible results at the next events such as the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Russia, the 2018 Olympics and of course the 2020 Worlds on home ice,” said Swiss Ice Hockey Federation CEO Florian Kohler.
Fischer will be the first Swiss-born national team coach since 1997. After Schenk, Canada-born Ralph Krueger and Sean Simpson each coached the men’s national team successively for many years. Last season Glen Hanlon became the head coach but in October the contract was dissolved by mutual agreement.
Fischer, Hollenstein and von Arx were some of the best Swiss forwards in the ‘90s and early 2000s in the Swiss league and on the national team. The trio combined for 420 games, 103 goals and 201 points on the national team. All won championships in Switzerland and captained some of the best club teams. Fischer and von Arx also briefly played in the NHL.
Fischer ended his players’ career in 2009 and was coaching HC Lugano for the last three years. He was Sean Simpson’s assistant coach at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where Switzerland won the silver medal and in 2014.
“With Patrick Fischer we can be proud of having a returnee on the national team staff. He played an important role as an assistant coach during our silver-medal campaign at the 2013 Worlds. And Felix Hollenstein and Reto von Arx are highly capable to motivate the national team and juniors,” national team director Raeto Raffainer said.
Felix Hollenstein spent his career as a player and coach with the Kloten Flyers where he was released last season. He also coached the U18 national team at one U18 World Championship.
Reto von Arx finished his career as a player just last spring after scoring the third championship-winning goal and earning the sixth championship with HC Davos and started working as an assistant coach with the U18 national team.
“We are all team players, that’s a strength. And we were all forwards. We will play brave and offensive hockey. That fits to us. We have many players who are very strong skaters and we want to implement confidence on the national team also when we play against big nations,” Fischer added.
The trio will be behind the Swiss bench for the first time in two weeks when Switzerland will host the Arosa Challenge that also includes Belarus, Norway and Slovakia.
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