Pat Quinn will be remembered as a long-time coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks, as well as Team Canada, with whom he won the first Olympic gold medal in 50 years at the Winter Games 2002 in Salt Lake City. In 2006 he was also the bench boss for Team Canada at the 80th
Spengler Cup. There, he led a team that consisted of players active in Europe (especially in Switzerland) and the American Hockey League. His team reached the final before falling to the host HC Davos. The Spengler Cup extends its deepest condolences to the family of Pat Quinn.
The Russian news agency Tass citing CSKA Moscow informed that the Russian coaching legend Viktor Tikhonov had passed away in Moscow at the age of 84. Tikhonov, born on June 4, 1930 in Moscow, is an icon of a golden era of ice hockey. Under his lead, the Soviet “Big Red
Machine” won 8 World Championships and three Olympic Gold medals between 1978 and 1992. Another memorable moment was the victory of “his” CSKA Moscow at the Spengler Cup. The Spengler Cup extends its deepest condolences to the family of Viktor Tikhonov.
The two guests Kendrick Nicholson (NHL) and Daniel Piechaczek (DEL) along with the Swiss Danny Kurmann (Photo), Stefan Eichmann, and Marc Wiegand will referee the matches. It will be Marc Wiegand's first Spengler Cup. Stefan Eichmann will get his first opportunity as a referee after having been a linesman at three previous Spengler Cups. Danny Kurmann is a veteran referee at the Spengler Cup - it is his ninth selection for the traditional tournament in Davos. NHL referee Kendrick Nicholson will celebrate his debut at the Spengler Cup. He started his career 11 years ago, officiated two final games of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), as well as games at the Memorial Cup 2013 and at this year's U18 World Championships. Currently, he is active mostly in the AHL. Daniel Piechaczek has been a referee in the DEL since 2002 and has been a professional since 2007. The highlights of his career, which counts over 1000 appearances, are
numerous World Championships as well as the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, where he officiated, amongst others, the game between Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The linesmen are the Swiss Franco Espinoza, Roman Kaderli, Andreas Kohler, Nicolas Fluri und Michael Tscherrig. Brent Reiber (Chief Referee) and Beat Kaufmann (Head of Referee Management), members of the National League management crew, will be officiating in Davos.
The on-ice officials at the 88th Spengler Cup
Referees: Danny Kurmann, Stefan Eichmann, Marc Wiegand (all SUI), Kendrick Nicholson (NHL), Daniel Piechaczek (DEL).
Linesmen: Franco Espinoza, Roman Kaderli, Andreas Kohler, Nicolas Fluri, Michael Tscherrig (all SUI).
You were the best scorer at the 2013 Spengler Cup. What does this award mean to you?
Matthew Lombardi: It is not so much the award that stands out in my mind - the entire experience was very special. My family, our two daughters and my wife as well as my father and my siblings were present in Davos. The entire experience was enhanced by the tournament win. It was fantastic for me to support the team during the entire tournament.
How did you learn about the tournament and its surrounding activities aside from the main focus on ice hockey?
Matthew Lombardi: As a Canadian, you naturally follow Team Canada – especially when the Spengler Cup games are broadcast on TV over the Christmas holidays. You also hear a lot about the tournament. It is not really any one detail that stands out for me. It is just such a cool event!
Do you receive any feedback regarding the Spengler Cup from your home country?
Matthew Lombardi: It is difficult to follow the regular season in Canada – primarily this is done through the internet. The Spengler Cup games are much easier to follow due to the TV coverage. Therefore, I do get more comments on the Spengler Cup than the regular season games. Interestingly enough, I have even received feedback during the ice hockey free summertime.
You are a 576-time NHL player and have won 2 world championship medals with Canada. How do you rate your Spengler Cup win?
Matthew Lombardi: The Spengler Cup win is completely different and cannot be compared to all my previous experiences. It begins with the games played during the Christmas holidays, being able to spend time with our families and our team at this traditional ice hockey tournament. My family especially enjoyed this fantastic atmosphere. Also, the Vaillant Arena stands out with its unique construction. The Spengler Cup is, even without the athletic aspect, unparalleled.
Genève Servette HC is returning as defending champion. What needs to come together to defend this title?
Matthew Lombardi: The tournament is once again stacked with very good teams. Defending the title will most certainly be difficult. Last year, we began the tournament with a good attitude, played hard and accepted the challenges of the tournament. The team was zealous. This year, defending the title will be even more difficult. We will, of course, accept the challenge with enthusiasm and hopefully provide a grand performance.
Your team will be the one to beat. Is this a difficult situation for you and your team?
Matthew Lombardi: This is not really a consideration for us. Last year, the Spengler Cup was kind of a turning point in the season. With our wins against the international teams, we were able to achieve a fantastic reputation, build up our self-confidence and subsequently take this
into our regular season. We want to formulate a positive attitude at this year’s edition of the tournament without expending too many thoughts to defending the title.
The regular season for Genève-Servette HC has been a roller-coaster ride – lots of ups and downs. What is missing to ensure a more stable performance from the team to be able to compete against the top teams?
Matthew Lombardi: I just returned recently. The team has played well in the games that I have seen. There are always highs and lows in a season. We are not playing bad, often it is our own fault that we cannot reap the fruit of our labors. We just couldn’t put the puzzle pieces together. However, our team is stable and has a lot of self-confidence. We believe in ourselves and are working hard to get the momentum on our side. We will surely be hard to beat.
What tipped the scales in your decision to continue your career in Switzerland instead of North America?
Matthew Lombardi: I thoroughly enjoyed my time last year in the Calvin city Geneva and in Switzerland in general. This was certainly a consideration in my decision to return to Switzerland following the end of the training camp and a place on the farm team of the New York Rangers in the AHL.
How do you rate the performance level of the Swiss ice hockey league in comparison to the NHL?
Matthew Lombardi: The Swiss National League A is a really good league. Many players from overseas are very surprised at first. This can be seen by the performance of the Swiss National Team, which has made significant progress over the last 2-3 years. The games in Switzerland are technically good and very fast – this only really becomes apparent when one is on the ice. It is difficult to compare Swiss hockey to the NHL because the field is smaller and therefore a very different style of hockey is played.
Turning your focus to the Spengler Cup - which team, in your opinion, will be your toughest opponent?
Matthew Lombardi: The first team that comes to mind is the home team, HC Davos – which I consider to be one of the favorites. Team Canada always makes a good effort. The KHL teams are unknown to us. But this is just the component that will make for interesting match-ups. I am definitely looking forward to these games. They will be fun. We were able to collect experience in this direction from our participation in the Champions Hockey League.
If you could have a wish for this year’s Spengler Cup, what would it be?
Matthew Lombardi: I would very much want a repeat of last year’s spectacular experience. Naturally, it would be great to be able to travel home with the trophy once again.
Will your preparation for the Spengler Cup have any special aspects?
Matthew Lombardi: I don’t think so. We will try to do it as we did in 2013 – find a good balance and attitude during the tournament.
Serge Pelletier (Montreal, Que.) will join Boucher behind the bench as
an assistant coach.