Swiss Ice Hockey

According to Klaus Zaugg (Watson), the majority of the National League clubs have voted to raise the age limit of the U20-league from 2022.

National League and Swiss League seem to disagree on the reforms.

Although not official, the decision to raise the maximal age of the last junior league before professional hockey seems to be taken and journalist Klaus Zaugg suggests that it might have bad repercussions for Swiss hockey: the best Swiss juniors will flee to Sweden or North America as soon as possible as their transition to professional hockey would be slowed by probably having to play longer among juniors.

Apparently, the aim of this reform is to increase the level of the highest junior league, however, Zaugg argues that this is a decision against the clubs of the Swiss League, which will soon become an independent entity.

This reform, promoted by most of the National League members, would deprive those clubs of tens of players, causing probably the end of two farm teams, namely the EVZ Academy and the HCB Ticino Rockets, which are currently filled with U22 players. Another possible consequence is that the Swiss League clubs may decide to replace those missing players with young foreigners.

In an interview with Zentralplus, Reto Kläy, team manager of EV Zug, reveals his belief that this age-increase will not really hurt Swiss hockey: "As before, a few talented players will continue to try their luck in North America. But there are many ways to make it to the National League or even the NHL. Roman Josi, for example, played with SC Bern in the National League before leaving for the NHL." Rather, Kläy believes that young players need a sense of belonging.

As for the future of the EVZ Academy, Kläy admits that they are evaluating if withdrawing the team already in the upcoming season: "At the moment we are struggling with a lot of question marks. That's why we're still leaving it open".

( 10 March 2021 | lle*ech | Report an error )