Our number one GT'er heading over to Switzerland. Isn't he on the committee that always stands behind Fehr and co? Still dont get this union.
Hope he doesn't get hurt.
The Swiss league is not a bad choice for a goalie!
How many Swiss skaters can you name? Any?
I thought so.*
How about Swiss goalies?
Aebischer, Gerber, Hiller...
This is not pure coincidence. Hockey is very popular in Switzerland, but its a small country with little hockey tradition.
They're not bound by EU rules that ban discrimination against players from other EU member countries, so they have a hard limit on import players; four per team.
Since hockey is popular, and there aren't many world class Swiss players, the teams tend to use their money wisely and buy four very good players. Often former NHL players returning home to Europe to wind down, or borderline NHLers. Through a kind of gentlemen's agreement they then tend to pitch their imports against each other, which means that whenever the imports hit the ice, there is play that is at least
good AHL/SEL level, then you have the scrubs playing in between. Since the goalie is stuck in goal the whole time, it's kind of like interval training, where you play a shift of borderline NHL hockey, then a shift of beer leauge, then a shift of borderline NHL, then a shift of beer league.
I think this must be excellent training for a goalie, because they learn to be prepared for anything. One shift you are facing world class snipers, but you have competent D helping you out. Next shift you are on your own, but the competition is shooting blanks...
Mind you, Swiss hockey overall has been improving, so maybe beer league isn't fair.
These days it might even be ECHL standard in between the imports, but still. You get what I mean.
And I still think it must be excellent work-out for an aspiring goalie!
*In all fairness, there are two Swiss forwards (Hnat Domenichelli & Paul diPietro) and three D-men (Mark Streit, Luca Sbisa & Yannick Weber) who have played more than 100 NHL games. I'm sure you all knew about them, eh?