Ajoie wrote a historical page of the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup thanks to the fact that they qualified to the final. They made it all the way and got rid of, in the order, Lausanne, ZSC Lions and Bienne. That’s the beauty of the Cup, at times David can defeat Goliath.
All is good then? More or less… Ajoie in fact, can’t play the final at the Patinoire Voyeboeuf. This is sad, it would have been the perfect conclusion for this triumph road for this Swiss League team that found the way to make their fans proud.
Then again, why exactly can’t Ajoie play the final in front of their own fans in their own arena? Our first reaction, as hockey passionate, was a reaction of indignation. Then, however, as usual we wanted to deepen the subject and therefore, we turned to Paolo Angeloni – Director of Regio League – in order to understand more. And since we turned to him, we also asked him what his opinion on the Swiss Cup is. Swiss Cup is a snubbed competition by many people but, as you all know, we like it a lot.
Paolo, first of all, thank you very much for your time. Question: Ajoie made it to the final but can’t play it at the Patinoire Voyeboeuf because of structural reasons. Why? And why could they play three rounds against National League’s sides (Lausanne, ZSC and Bienne) but they can’t hold the final?
Ajoie won against Bienne the semi-final. By doing so they earned the right to play the final and the right to host it because they’re a lower tier side compared to the other finalist Davos. Well, before the semi-final, however, the club was informed by us that they couldn’t play the eventual final in Porrentruy. That’s because the Patinoire Voyeboeuf is currently under renovation and the minimum requirements to host a Cup final couldn’t be met. Ajoie could play the semi-final against Bienne at the Voyeboeuf after an agreement, a compromise, due to the proximity of the two clubs. The final, however, is a different dimension compared to the previous rounds. Besides, at this moment, the arena in Porrentruy is not equipped to install all the necessary cam-recorders, so essential to guarantee a high-quality TV production. Moreover, the Voyeboeuf does not have enough positions for the media and makes it impossible to comply with the contract terms agreed with sponsors. Finally, the Voyeboeuf doesn’t guarantee enough security when it comes to hosting visitor fans. We, as SIHF, are working together with Ajoie in order to find an alternative location for the final.
We are Swiss Cup-admirers, we wrote several times about it. And many fans, considering the attendances of the semi-finals, seem to like this competition as well. You, as Regio League director, what do you think about this competition?
The Swiss Cup is a competition that is having more and more success and that involves also the lower non-professional leagues considering that 10 Regio League teams has a place in the Round of 16. In order to qualify for the Round of 16, all the Regio League clubs – from the MySports League to the 4th division – play the qualifiers during the previous season and these qualifiers are a success also in terms of attendances. Without forgetting that there are many surprises. The Swiss Cup allows to write nice pages of history, what wouldn’t be possible during a normal season. I want to make two examples. During the last two seasons, we had two 2nd league teams who made it to the Round of 16 and could, therefore, face National League or Swiss League clubs. But the nicest story of all was surely written by Sophie Anthamatten, the “female goalie” of EHC Saastal who made it to the Round of 16 and could face the National League side Genève Servette.
Thank you, Paolo!
Well, let’s start from the second answer and therefore from the second question. Paolo listed some of the reasons why we love the Swiss Cup. We, that we are a little bit romantic, are in love with such stories that only a competition like the Swiss Cup can write. Let’s say that this tournament reconciles us with sport 🙂
Then, however, as we could see from the first answer, modern sport must – also – go another direction. The business direction.
Frankly speaking, it makes us sad this whole story of Ajoie. Even if only because their fans won’t be able to support their team in their own arena. Yet, the explanations leave no room for interpretation and they make sense.
And so, we want to talk again about our ideas to improve, and make more attractive, the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup. To make the story short, last season we wrote that – in our humble opinion – there are few things that could improve the current situation and that, in fact, would prevent also facts like the one involving Ajoie from happening. In our opinion, the ideas to improve the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup and make it more attractive are:
Final four instead of semi-finals and final, perhaps to be played as “Winter Classic”
Champions Hockey League qualification for the winners
To improve the rules about imports
Here is the link to the article in which we talked about our ideas. Enjoy… and long live the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup!