It is a page of history that closes. Jonas Hiller, one of the best Swiss goalies ever, hung up his skates after a sad Bienne vs ZSC Lions 5-1 played behind closed doors at the Tissot Arena. That was a game that the nr. 1 of the Seeländer finished with a 97.1%, as a proof that he was still at the top of his game and in great shape in view of the post-season that was then cancelled because of the darn covid19.
We think it’s safe to say that Jonas would have deserved a better end. Maybe an end with a Swiss Champion gold medal around his neck. That would have been the right reward for a career that was exceptional to say the least.
A career that he started when he played youth hockey in Herisau and that continued in Davos where he became the number one goalie starting from the 2004-05 season. That season finished with the win of the title, the second one of the three won by Jonas with the Ibexes. The first one was one in 2002 when, however, he was the back up of Lars Weibel.
His above average skills were there for everyone to see and it was therefore not an accident that in May 2007 the Anaheim Ducks signed him as an undrafted free agent.
He made his NHL debut on September 30th of the same year, when the Ducks earned a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles KIngs back then coached by the former ZSC Lions Marc Crawford. That was the first one of almost 450 appearances in the most prestigious league of the world, appearances collected firstly with the Anaheim Ducks until 2014 and then with the Calgary Flames until 2016.
Jonas Hiller always had terrific saving percentages overseas, always above 90% overall. This, among other things, allowed him to become one of the most respected goalies in the world!
After 9 seasons in the NHL then, Hiller moved back to Switzerland and joined Bienne where he played the last 4 seasons of his career. In the Seeland, Hiller played a key role in helping Bienne to turn from a “wannabe” big team into a real big one. He even helped the team to make it to the playoffs for four consecutive times and to reach the semi-finals two consecutive years. These are great achievements, with the only regret represented by the fact that the Seeländer have not been able to win the first title since 1983 when he was only 1 year old and didn’t even start to play hockey.
We personally believe that Jonas still had everything, but everything, to extend his career. But what do they say? Champions know when it’s the right time to retire and rarely have regrets once they made their choice.
And Hiller is a Champion, with a capital C.
He’s been an unbelievable goalie with an above average agility and sense of positioning. Many players, including the former Davos Rick Nash, praised him for his incredible working ethic and for his will to succeed. Dulcis in fundo, he’s been a goalie that was able to make the difference and to make it especially in the key games. Like only Champions can do. He even had some difficult times in his career, but he has always overcome them thanks to a great mental strength.
In Bienne people will remember him. Just like people of the teams wherever he played will never forget him. Including the Swiss national team. Because Jonas left his mark wherever he was. Again, just like only great Champions – with a capital C – can do.