Swiss National Team Week – U17 National Team

By Martin Locher

The U17 National Team headed to Slovakia to play three games against a
top class opponent.

“We didn’t perform the best.”, headcoach Charly Oppliger said. “But the
opponent was very good. We did join in well in these games, that’s
what I wanted.”

Defense seemed to be the big problem for nearly all players.
Coach Oppliger explained: “In the Swiss leagues the good players can
shine offensively, other take over the defensive part for them. With
the games the players adjusted well.”

The main goal was to “gain experience” and that was reached in this test series against
Slovakia. The coach didn’t want to talk about the certain players. He
only mentioned: “All players are good. They wouldn’t be in the national
team otherwise.”

Assistant coach Arnold Loertscher added: “We have a well balanced team.
It would be too early to talk about names.”

The three close games against Slovakia were a good start into the millenuim
season for the Swiss U17 team. From December 20, 1999 to January 3, 2000
Switzerland takes part at the Mac’s Tournament Midget AAA at Calgary.
“After that we know more”, Oppliger said.

The Results and Swiss scorers:

Slovakia – Switzerland 3:3

Swiss scorers: Gloor, Schmid, Witschi

Slovakia – Switzerland 3:2

Swiss scorers: Schmid, Gloor

Slovakia – Switzerland 3:4

Triulzi (2), Ambühl, Gloor

Team Roster

Goalie Stephan and forward Baertschi are the two only underaged players
on the U17 National Team. Both are playing for the EHC Kloten juniors.
Tobias Stephan is already fighting for the starting job in the oldest
junior category (80-82 born) in Kloten, despite being just 15 years old.

A junior who is playing in the 83/84 age class said before a game: “It is Good
that Stephan already plays in the higher category. Otherwise we wouldn’t
have to play. We wouldn’t score anyways.”

This shows the respect Stephan has in the junior scene.

Patrick Bärtschi is a true leader, especially off the ice. He was also
named an alternative captain on the National Team. Luca Triulzi was named
team captain, while the other alternative was defenseman Filippo Schenker.