The Swiss Ice Hockey Cup was reintroduced during the 2014-15 season. They say that in ice hockey, contrary to what happens – or what happened… – in football, real David and Goliath stories almost never happen. And instead, it’s not really like that.
We saw it at first hand last night, when Ajoie (Swiss League) were able to earn a magic 6-3 home win against the National League leaders ZSC Lions!
But let’s see the David and Goliath stories in the history of the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup.
Goliath: HC Davos
David: EHC Visp
During the first 2014-15 edition, the first “Goliath” who lost against “David” was Davos, who suffered a 4-2 away defeat against Visp at the 1/8 final stages.
Goliath: HC Davos, HC Lugano
David: EHC Dübendorf, SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers
During the second edition on the other hand, there were two National League teams that suffered a painful defeat. Again Davos, for instance… the Ibexes in fact, suffered an away overtime defeat against Dübendorf (…) at the Round of 16 stages! In the next round then – 1/8 final – also Lugano suffered a 3-2 away defeat against Rapperswil, who were back then playing in the Swiss League.
Goliath: HC Ambrì-Piotta, SC Bern, HC Lugano
David: GCK Lions, HC Biasca Ticino Rockets, SC Langenthal
Well, as many as three “Goliaths” lost against “David” during the 2016-17 Swiss Cup edition. Firstly, Ambrì-Piotta who lost 4-1 against the GCK Lions and Bern that suffered a 2-1 shootout defeat against the new-born Ticino Rockets. Both teams lost at the Round of 16 stages.
In the following round then, also Lugano were eliminated for the second consecutive season by a Swiss League club. This time, the Bianconeri suffered a 5-1 defeat against Langenthal.
Goliath: Lausanne HC, HC Lugano, ZSC Lions, SCL Tigers, EV Zug, HC Davos
David: HC Ajoie, SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers
The 2017-18 Swiss Cup edition was the most impressive one. Rapperswil won the trophy after that they had got rid of Lugano at the 1/8 final stages and Zug at the 1/4 stages. Without forgetting that they even won the final against Davos!
Noteworthy also what Ajoie did. In fact, Ajoie got rid of the ZSC Lions at the 1/8 stages and then also of Langnau at the 1/4 stages. Then, they lost in the semifinal against the future winners Rapperswil.
Goliath: EHC Biel-Bienne
David: EHC Kloten
Perhaps the 2017-18 edition made it clear to the National League clubs that you can’t underestimate Swiss League clubs. During the 2018-19 edition in fact, the only surprise came at the 1/8 stages… when Kloten, who were just relegated in the Swiss League, earned an amazing 4-3 comeback win against Bienne!
Goliath: Lausanne HC, ZSC Lions
David: HC Ajoie
This season, two National League teams already lost and they both lost against Ajoie. Ajoie in fact, firstly got rid of Lausanne at the 1/8 final stages and then of the ZSC Lions at the 1/4 stages! And now, they’ll host Bienne in the next round… be careful, Seeländers!
We mean, David and Goliath stories might not be commonplace. But they do happen, and this is one of the reasons why we like the Swiss Cup. Even though, it’s a competition snubbed by lots of people.
All the lower categories teams in fact, have the chance – even if only one time – of gifting their fans with a magic night. Let’s take Rapperswil for example, who were even able to win the trophy back in 2018. Or let’s take also Ajoie for example, who seem to feel quite comfortable when they play Swiss Cup games and this year made it to the semi-final for the second time in history!
Moreover, it’s interesting the fact that basically all the National League clubs have already, at least one time, lost against teams of lower categories. The only National League clubs who are yet to experience a David and Goliath story are Fribourg Gottéron and Genève Servette. Lucky them!
The latter two teams, however, never won the trophy… even though the Eagles went very close to the win back in 2017, when they lost the final against Kloten.
The fact remains that, in our opinion, this competition must be enhanced. We talked about this in the past… if you missed our piece, here is the link to our article in which we shared some ideas on how to make the Swiss Cup more attractive!