Preface: it’s rather unacceptable that in 2019 a hockey game – the derby between Ambri-Piotta and Lugano of November 23rd – need to be played in such conditions. The puddles of water and the “rain” that fell from the roof of the Valascia were a bad thing for Swiss hockey.
However, let us say that, somehow, we will miss such “scenes”.
For two hours in fact, we’ve been able to relive scenes that in modern hockey we will never see anymore. We will miss them in the modern world of hockey made of absurd schedules, of transfers announced months in advance.
The game played at the Valascia, that was overall eventful but with all due respect a low-level one, won, anyway, deservedly by Ambrì-Piotta, reminded us of one of those nights spent playing hockey in an open-door rink in some remote village. When winter could still be called winter and ice was formed almost everywhere.
Those nights spent trying not to pass the puck “on the left side” because, in that case, the puck would be stuck in a puddle of water. And those nights at the end of which you came back home soaking wet. But happy.
Happy just like most of the fans who attended the game of Saturday night at the Valascia, thanks to the second consecutive win of their team against the “cousins” of Lugano.
And happy just like all those people that, at least once in their life, spent a night at the Valascia.
The Valascia is a crumbling and cold arena… but also an arena that oozes with history.
An arena that will disappear soon and will be replaced – for better or worse – by a new modern structure suitable for professional hockey. A state-of-the-art facility that should allow Ambrì-Piotta to increase their income and so establish themselves furthermore in the top tier of Swiss hockey.
And yet, let us say it again. Even though we’re neutral, we will miss the Valascia.
Because it’s probably the last “piece” of old-style hockey. That hockey that was certainly of a lower level compared to the one of today, but a hockey that perhaps was more real. When the games were played more with the instinct instead of organization.
That hockey that was more genuine, just like the puddles of water that were on the ice of the Valascia on November 23rd, 2019.
Now, mind you. We love hockey in every way. We think that it’s the most beautiful sport in the world. It was, it is, and it will always be. Moreover, it’s correct to look forward.
Yet, we wouldn’t want that ice hockey becomes like football where everything is about money and Champions League… where the players are more “role-models” rather than football players… where all the new stadiums built are basically the same, very nice to see but almost without a soul… where the players complain if the grass is not perfectly cut…
Nope, when it comes to ice hockey, we’d like that in the future there will still be place – metaphorically speaking – also for a Valascia. With its puddles of water.
Do you think we’re too nostalgic? Maybe yes. But, with all due respect and affection, “historical relics” like the Valascia, like the old Resega with that tube that prevented the fans from watching the game, like the ancient Patinoire St. Léonard, like the not good looking les Vernets of Genève, like the old Schluefweg of Kloten with its huge concrete steps, like the old Malley of Lausanne with its impressive environment, like the old Eisstadion of Bienne… should never be forgotten.
Because, willy-nilly, business or no business, whoever was lucky enough – or unlucky enough – to catch cold in such arenas, has an indelible memory that, among other things, made them fall in love with this fantastic sport.
And so… long live the new and fantastic Vaudoise Arena, long live the new BCF Arena that will be completed by next season and that promises to be beautiful, long live modern hockey.
But, long live also the traditions and the Valascia! With its puddles of water, of course.