Triskaidekaphobia… namely, the extreme superstition regarding the number thirteen. If you link this number to a Friday, some people literally start to touch wood.

Will our National League teams do the same? Right, because the first game day of this 2019-20 season, that promises to be particularly exciting, is scheduled for Friday 13th!

Among those who will touch some wood there are the reigning champions of Bern even though they won three of the last for titles. Someone will ask why: soon said. Because last time the National League started on a Friday 13th goes back to the 2013-14 season… and the Mutzen – who happened to be the reigning champions also back then – had a horrible season. In fact, they missed the playoffs and were forced to play the playout for the first – and so far, the only – time in history!

It’s safe to say, however, that that season started the day before when the game ZSC Lions vs Fribourg Gottéron was scheduled for Thursday 12th. But all the other teams, played their first game the following night, that is on Friday 13th of September 2013.

Do you think there is any correlation between the fact that the ZSC Lions won the title at the end of that season? We mean, it was probably only a coincidence, even though who is affected by triskaidekaphobia would think differently… and frankly speaking, not without a reason. Curiously enough in fact, the Lions – before winning the title after a one-sided affair final against Kloten – finished the Regular Season at the top of the table with 106 points. At the top of the table in front of… look at that… Fribourg Gottéron, that is the only other team that played the first day of that season on Thursday 12th of September!

Now, we don’t know how many people are affected by triskaidekaphobia in Switzerland. But surely, among them, there are also ice hockey passionates who are about to live a season, that on paper promises to be unforgettable.

Bern, triskaidekaphobia or not, still remain a dangerous steamroller ready to win the fourth title in the last five years. And Zug, already finalist last season and who reinforced themselves a lot, are the first real threat. The hope is that the Bulls are not affected by triskaidekaphobia… that’s because it was right them – together with Bienne and Rapperswil – who played the playouts together with Bern at the end of that ominous 2013-14 season…

We mean, were we able to scare the two favourites to win the title? And were we able to give some hope to the fans of all the other teams? Including the fans from Ticino, of course.

Ambrì-Piotta, who probably doesn’t care about triskaidekaphobia, think about hard work and have the difficult task of repeating – and perhaps improving – last season’s excellent results. It won’t be easy as survival is the number one target and only after that it will be possible to think about going as far as possible.

Lugano on the other hand, who changed a lot and triskaidekaphobia is the last of their problems, are very unpredictable. The Bianconeri have the great advantage of starting this season with no one predicting them at the top of the table… yet, we all know that if they make the playoffs, no one wants to face them.

Just like no one wants to face Bienne and Lausanne, the two “high flyers” who are trying to make it to the top in two different ways. The Seeländers are the ones who, when it comes to value for money, have been doing the best work in years in Switzerland. The Lions Vaudois on the other hand, looks like they want everything as quickly as possible… and invested a lot, to the point that they became a force on par with Bern, Zug and Zürich. And considering the latter who are coming off a disappointing season and as usual spread no francs to reinforce the roster, there is no denying that they are to be considered among the four-five teams able to aim high.

After that, there are all the other teams who are likely to struggle to secure their playoffs place until the end.

The solid Langnau, who want to repeat last season’s excellent results. The ambitious Fribourg Gottéron, who can count on four impressive imports. The “unknown” and young Genève Servette, who are now less experienced compared to the past but that are always capable of everything and its opposite. The “new” Davos of Raffainer – Wohlwend, who have every intention of bouncing back after a season during which everything – but everything – went south.

We mean, we will have fun. Enjoy the National League guys!

What? You say we forgot about Rapperswil? Yep, sorry… we were lost trying to spell the word triskaidekaphobia… well, it’s difficult to predict what the Lakers can do. The former newly promoted side is certainly much better and can aspire to have much more success compared to last season. Yet, triskaidekaphobia is the last of their problems. Even though also Rappi missed the playoffs at the end of the 2013-14 season… When it comes to the Lakers anyway, this season is important in order to establish themselves in the National League, to gain more experience and to build self-confidence. What about the playoffs for them? It’s very difficult for them to make it to the post-season.

Impossible you say? Nope, nothing is impossible. Not even to spell the word triskaidekaphobia.

Enjoy the season you guys, and good luck to all the teams!