Well, that’s it. Our holidays are over… a dozen days in Sanremo (Italy, Liguria) that literally regenerated us. That also thanks to the wonderful locals who always make us feel home.
Having said that, we’re back and we’re back to stay. Let’s get back talking about ice hockey! Right, because the teams started to prepare themselves for the new season that promises to be extremely exciting.
As usual, Bern are the favourites… the Bears are the title holders and have every intention to win the fourth title in the last five seasons. Kari Jalonen’s troops are a real steamroller, perhaps they’re not always spectacular but are darn effective. We mean, when the Bears decide to show their claws to win crucial games, there is no deal to make for anyone. This also because they’re second to no one when it comes to winning mindset, and that’s something that allows them to make the difference at the key moments of the season.
Who will be able to scare them? Well, actually several teams have what it takes to go far.
Starting from Zug. On paper, the Bulls have the best roster ever of their history! They’re the runners-up and won the last Swiss Cup. The impression is that they’re so close to become Swiss Champions again after the last – and only – time that goes back to over 20 years ago.
There is also Zürich. The Lions are always capable of everything and its opposite. On paper, they had all it takes to succeed also last season… but then, we all know that things went south pretty fast. This proves how the National League is balanced. It’s enough you start to collect negative results – that leads to uncertainties and frustration – and it doesn’t really matter how good you are on paper. You can seriously end up in tears.
What about Bienne then? The Seeländers – in our opinion – are the ones who are doing the best job in Switzerland. This summer they added several interesting players to their roster and the level of the team is excellent. Antti Törmänen’s troops are coming off two consecutive semifinals and are giving their fans something to dream about. Will they be able to make the last step and make it to the first playoffs final in history? Difficult to say, but Bienne are a great outsider who have all it takes to do well.
By staying in Western Switzerland, you can’t avoid thinking about Lausanne. On paper, the Lions Vaudois have all it takes to succeed, moreover the new Arena will give that “something extra” that can help the team to do wonders. Ville Peltonen’s troops are coming off their first semifinal in history and want to be the first ones – excluded Bern, ZSC Lions, Davos and Lugano – to win the title this century. Will they succeed? Only time will tell. One thing is sure though… with all due respect, our hope is that Lausanne can be more spectacular compared to last season. They have enough quality players to gift fans with some great hockey!
Well, on paper, those are the five favourites to win the title. Then again… on paper, you win nothing. In fact, the reality is that each team can become a potential outsider.
Including Lugano and Davos, the only two – together with Bern and ZSC Lions – who were able to win the title this century.
Bianconeri and Ibexes changed a lot, especially off the ice.
Lugano – who are now coached by Sami Kapanen – can upset anyone on paper. Moreover, the “breath of fresh air” (new coach, new SD, etc…) can become a very important trump card. The Bianconeri aren’t considered among the favourites for the first time in years… and it’s not said that this is a bad thing. We mean, Lugano are waiting to be discovered.
Same goes for Davos, who are coming off a season during which everything possible went wrong. The Ibexes are preparing themselves for a season without Arno Del Curto after immemorial time… on paper, this team has what it takes to do much better than last season. We’re always talking about Davos, after all.
Let’s move finally to “all the others”… that is, the teams who – one way or another – are considered to be the everlasting promises. Teams who can make the playoffs and have a great season… but who can also miss the post-season.
Let’s start this round with Fribourg Gottéron. The Dragons have four new and strong import players and as usual start the season with lots of ambitions. On paper, they can do very well. Last season they missed the playoffs at the last gasp… and we think it’s safe to say that they “shot themselves in the foot”. Surely they want to do much better and are very motivated.
Very motivated just like Ambrì-Piotta, who are doing a terrific work both on and off the ice. In Leventina, however, they’re about to start (paradoxically) the most difficult season in years. Last season’s results are both a motivation and a “curse”. A motivation because Luca Cereda’s troops proved that anything is possible when you work hard. A “curse” instead, because everything now starts again from scratch and expectations are higher. It’s important to keep the feet on the ground.
From Ticino let’s move to Western Switzerland again… to talk about Genève Servette, who start a “new era” without McSorley for the second time in three years. The Eagles proved during the last playoffs who are a tough nut to crack. We mean, as usual, we’re pretty sure that if Genève Servette make the playoffs, no one wants to face them.
And talking about teams no one wants to face, we can include Langnau… the Tigers are coming off a memorable season to say the least. They made it brillantly to the playoffs and, most and above all, they gained respect thanks to their great performances. Nope, Langnau are no longer a surprise and are ready to surprise everybody again!
Finally, there is Rapperswil… on paper, the Lakers reinforced themselves quite a lot and moreover – if not most and above all – they now have one year of National League experience. It’s not gonna be easy for Rappi to make the playoffs… but it won’t be easy for anyone. We’re pretty sure that Rapperswil will sell their lives dearly and can shock few.
Well, are you ready for the 2019-20 season? We are, and we just can’t wait!
There are approximately 43’000 minutes left before the first puck drop of the season… that’s a long and a short time at the same time. As usual, we will talk about ice hockey with passion and there will be news.
In fact, we’ll cover the National League in even more depth. Moreover, we’ll talk also about the Swiss League and regio hockey… we won’t do it on a regular basis, but we’ll try to bring you some valuable pieces.
We’ll continue to talk about the NHL in our brand new NHL Corner, that is managed mostly by our collaborator Jonathan Camponovo. And we’ll talk also about European hockey… we’ll follow the National team, and we’ll always try to find something great for you.
See you soon guys, long live ice hockey 🙂