Now that Nino Niederreiter has moved on to the pro game, other players in the Swiss program will be asked to fill that void. One such player is Geegory Hofmann, a prospect of the Carolina Hurricanes. Hofmann is a member of Switzerland‘s 2012 WJC squad, which opened this year’s tournament with a well-played 3-0 loss to Russia.
Hofmann spoke with HF following the loss to Russia.
Game 1 – SWEDEN BASH LOUSY SWISS
Switzerland got of to a good start in front of the home crowd. Sweden got an early opening goal through power play by Jungbeck, but the hosts reacted quickly! Monnet notched the first Swiss goal in these championships just 2 minutes later. From then on the home team was closer to the lead than their Nordic opponents.
But Martin Samuelsson had something against these annoying Swiss and recorded a shorthander at beginning of the 2nd. The game turned to Swedens favour and the Swiss started to make everything wrong one possibly can: defenders didn’t move up, forwards forgot to backcheck, bad passing, orientation problems in own slot or just pure lack of concentration! Two quick goals in the 6th minute sealed their fate and gave Sweden a comfortable win!
Luckily the Swiss will face the inferior Ukrainians (18-1 loss against Russia in opener) tomorrow. Hopefully it will bring back the spirit and put the team back on track.
SWITZERLAND 2 - SWEDEN 8
1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
Switzerland 1 0 1 2
Sweden 1 5 2 8
Scoring: 1, SWE, A Jungbeck (power play) (M Hedlund, P Andersson), 1:00. 2, SUI, T Monnet (S Helfenstein), 2:48.
The 1st Amateur League is the 3rd highest league in Switzerland. Almost all
the players have a full or part time job or go to school. The league is
split into 3 regional divisions. The winners of each division play a
round robin to determine the Amateur Champions.
In the Eastern division (group 1), two 15 year old school boys have drawn
a great deal of attention. Not in the news, but of coaches and
These two boys excel by playing a defensive style of hockey. Offense wins
games – defense wins championships. This could also be written like
this. Offense is gaining the attention of all – defense is gaining the
attention of the experts.
Tim Ramholt and Emanuel Peter are both defensive specialists, but not “defense
only” players. Both were born in 1984, but are already playing in the 80
to 82 born juniors category and in the best Amateur league. Also both
got called up for the U17 national team in February.
Ramholt is currently playing for the Grasshoppers junior team.
His club has signed a so called “Partner Team Agreement”, with Küsnacht, one of the amateur teams.
The agreement indicates that the Grasshoppers junior team can lend its players to Küsnacht if requested by Küsnacht.
According to Ramholt’s junior team coach Richi Jost “Ramholt is
always one of the first players, the Küsnacht coach asks for, when we
talks about the players, who will be sent to them for the next game”.
Sweden-Switzerland 7-1 (1-1, 2-0, 4-0)
Sweden got off to a good start to this years tournament as they cruised past Switzerland in a 7-1-win. The Swiss took a surprising lead in the first period after a mistake from Swedish goalie Johan Asplund. Asplund was just gonna stop the puck and put his glove on it, but he failed to stop it and Flavien Conne snapped it up and sent it to the net. After the goal the Swedes looked nervous and the passing game didn’t work out as well as coach Lars Molin wanted it to. But the Swedes got an opportunity as the Swiss got a man sent to the box. A misunderstanding between the Swiss defenders on the blue-line saw Christian Berglund skate through and alone with Swiss-goalie Simon Züger he some how managed to score the equaliser. Züger threw himself in front off the stick of Berglund, but he missed the puck, which slid under him.
The second period saw more nervous playing from the Swedes and Switzerland had a few chances to score, including a shot in the bar. But halfway through the period Sweden started to look as the better team and within 41 seconds they went from 1-1 to 3-1, after goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Gabriel Karlsson. Zetterberg did it on his own, breaking in in front of the goal while the Swiss were just looking at him and sent the puck past Züger. The goal from Karlsson on the other hand was a created by Björn Melin who set up Karlsson with a beautiful pass and Karlsson made no mistake alone with Züger.
Ten years from now, when we look back at this years World Junior Championships, we
will be amazed how many big stars that were present. Sure, a few of the biggest
names are missing because they have not been released by their NHL-clubs, but
many of the players who will battle for the gold-medal will become big stars in NHL sometime down the road.
This years tournament will be held in Skellefteå and Umeå, Sweden. The first game will be played on December 25th and the final will take place on January 4th. The ten teams are divided into two groups with Canada, USA, Slovakia, Finland and Czech Republic in Group A and Sweden, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Switzerland in Group B. A difference from last years tournament is that the group-winner will not be automatically qualified for the semi-final. This year the winner in Group A will play the fourth-placed team from Group B, the second-placed team in Group A will play the third-placed team from Group B and so on.