Hockey Night in Zurich – VIP Style

Stay on your feet!

 It’s not every day I go to a hockey game. It’s not any day I go to a hockey game. But when in Zürich, do as the local fans do. EVZ, the hockey team from a town called Zug are playing the ZSC Lions, the home team here in Zürich. The Lions are winning 3 to 1, and I’m in a VIP box with a bunch of journalists, all of whom know way more about hockey than I do.

Life in the fast box

I have no complaints about hanging out in a VIP box though. We’re here compliments of Florian Zimmermann, the former marketing director of EVZ, now the Managing Director of Number8 LTD, a sports event media agency. After the game he’s arranged for the head coach, Doug Shedden, of EVZ to stop by – the coach was a former player in the NHL (just in case you don’t know offhand the history of every single player to ever have graced the ice).

I’m sure you’re dying to know some differences between hockey in Canada and Switzerland so here’s a few exciting facts.

1) The Rinks: NHL rinks are 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.  Swiss rinks are bigger. 210 long and 98 wide.

2) The Teams: Switzerland has 12 teams and USA/Canada has 30

3) Fighting: NHL players are penalized 5 minutes for fighting. Players here in Switzerland receive a match penalty and are ejected from the game. Although, just in case you think Swiss players never fight – such a peaceful country – two players have already been ejected. It happened in the first period. We missed the excitement though, as we were spending too much time eating fondu at the Restaurant Swiss Chuchi.

4) Money: NHL players get paid waaaay more.

That's one big rink!

Oh, oh. The game is finished and we were rooting for EVZ from Zug – which, I hear, is a bit of a tax haven. They lost 4 to 1. And just when I thought that I was the only hockey ignoramus, Jennifer, the PR rep on our trip, told me that she doesn’t know what’s going on, she just cheers when everyone else does. While it’s advice I think I’ll take to heart, I had to explain that we are not cheering for the Zurich team, we’re cheering for Zug.  Oh, wait. Here’s the EVS coach, gotta go …. but I won’t cheer.

Florian Zimmermann and Doug Shedden

Zimmermann and Shedden - Good Sports

 Coach Shedden just talked about how much he loves working here in Switzerland. He says that sportsmanship is what it’s all about in Europe. “Play hard but don’t fight.” Words to live by.

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