Swiss Pond Hockey Championship with Foppa & AYCANE All Star Team

AYCANE ALL-STARS WITH PETER FORSBERG TAKE BRONZE AT SWISS POND HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS

“WE’LL COME BACK STRONGER,” PETER FORSBERG DECLARES AFTER THE TOURNAMENT IN SILVAPLANA.

It was cold on the pond, but true to the AYCANE spirit, our boys (and girl) are born in the north and fought to a bronze middle finish in our first-ever attempt at the Swiss Pond Hockey Championships in Silvaplana.

Sure, it helps to have hockey legend Peter Forsberg on your squad, in addition to former Swiss pros Patrick Fischer and Thomas Rüfenacht, fellow AYCANE founders, Nico Serena and Daniel Giger, plus Swiss hockey queen, Evelina Raselli. 

The boys (and girl) were buzzing, and although champion Team Bago defended its title against PHC Göteborg, Team AYCANE was thrilled to come away with a podium finish. 

After the final buzzer, Foppa declared, “We’ll be back!” and will we ever! Perhaps swapping pizza and wine for vitamins and tea. We’ll build stronger lungs with some altitude training. After all, winning is what we do. What other team boasts Stanley Cups, World Cups, Olympic Golds, Swiss League Championships, and innovative apparel to its name?

Over 70 total teams participated in the 2023 Swiss Pond Hockey Championship, with many more on the waitlist not even making the cut. It was a true gathering of hockey enthusiasts, who braved sub-zero temperatures for a shot at glory, to play hockey the way they grew up, outside, breathing steam, with a pristine mountain backdrop.

AS IT HAPPENED

Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, Game 1 against Der Videowürfel zittert

In its first game action, Team AYCANE quickly found itself down 4-1. Battling temperatures of -18 °C, the foursome of Evelina Raselli, Patrick Fischer, Thomas Rüfenacht, and Daniel Giger, had to warm up quickly. They adjusted to the high altitude and frigid temperatures and found their groove, eventually earning a close victory. 

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, Game 2 against the SCRJ Lakers

The reputation of both teams preceded them. Team AYCANE had heard how good the SCRJ Lakers are, and they’d seen it, too, as the Lakers featured former NLA player and TV broadcaster, Thomas Walser, among others. But the respect was mutual given this was Peter Forsberg’s first game on the pond. And he’s still got it! Foppa’s 24-minute shift was a display of pure talent. His hands are fast as ever, and his skill along with solid teamwork and chemistry with Fischi, Rüfy, and Raselli won the game.

Game 3 against World Rink Hockey

In terms of skill, World Rink Hockey was no match for Team AYCANE, but they more than made up for it with their international flair. World Rink Hockey is a ragtag collection of hockey friends who responded to a Facebook invitation from their captain, traveling here from all corners of the globe. Take Mr. Santiago, their captain. He’s a Mexican living in Japan, and after a 30-hour flight, he was eager to strap on his skates as soon as he got here. But, they left with the L and a good story to tell.

Game 4 against the Bad Santas

Before the puck dropped, it was like an NLA reunion. Daniel Giger played with René Furler in Fribourg and Rapperswil, Thomas Rüfenacht played with Patrick von Gunten on the national team, and up until the 2019/2020 season, Mathieu Tschantré was captain for EHC Biel. Until this match, the Bad Santas and Team AYCANE remained undefeated, but now it was time for one line-up to give up their crown. For the audience, the match was a sensation - pond hockey at its best, and the atmosphere was electric. AYCANE won the game, one that was more about honor, as their spot in the knockout round was already secure. 

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, Game 5  against Ursprung Chloote, Game 6 against Mini Nr. 1, Game 7 against Krähenbach Kings

On Sunday, Team AYCANE had to tighten their skates if they wanted to make it to the finals, especially when it came to playing Mini Nr. 1. Made up of three women and a brother, their legs and hands were surprisingly fast.

Semifinal, Game 8 against PHC Göteborg

Oh no! Record scratch. The run to glory ended here for Team AYCANE as PHC Göteborg took the lead early and held on for the win in this high-scoring semifinal. The Swedes played a smart, veteran game and moved on to the finals while AYCANE would be stuck playing for bronze.

Game for 3rd place against Slow Motion

The happy ending for Peter Forsberg, Thomas Rüfenacht, Daniel Giger, and Nico Serena was their victory in the small final, placing third in the Swiss Pond Hockey Championship and taking a hard-earned place on the podium.

Congratulations to Team Bago, who defended their title. And hats off to all the teams - they kept the mood high and play clean despite the sub-zero temperatures. And many thanks to the organizers of the event for such a well-run event.

Also, how damn good did our squad look out there?! Grab the kit!

TEAM AYCANE WILL BE BACK! And we’re coming for GOLD!

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