From earning pocket change to top linesman | Spengler Cup Davos

From earning pocket change to top linesman

Article - From earning pocket change to top linesman


Dario Fuchs, a native of eastern Switzerland, is only 33 years old but has already been an active linesman in the National League for six years – and is already making his second appearance at the Spengler Cup.

In his younger years Dario Fuchs chased after the puck in Uzwil like the Leuenberger brothers, Mathias Seger, Kevin Fiala, Thierry Bader, and many more. There likely had been some dream of a big career, but at around 20 years of age Fuchs ended his playing career. Contrary to his activities as a referee, which he had already begun earlier, being a player could not be combined with the military recruitment school. In hindsight he says, ‘refereeing always fascinated me somehow, and it was also about bolstering up my allowance. I started calling bambini and piccolo tournaments; I liked it, had fun, moved up, and eventually decided to go all-in on refereeing.’

It was a good decision. Only six, seven years later he was already an active linesman in the National League. He says he was lucky to have often been in the right place and have met the right people, who believed in him. That way he moved through the lower leagues relatively quickly and was soon introduced to the three-man system. His first appearance in the National League? ‘It was in Lausanne and I was allowed to officiate a game of the 50th round, a game with nothing at stake really, with Danny Kurman and Stefan Eichmann. I was still extremely nervous though to be on the ice with these two luminaries and only thought: You can’t mess this up. But they took me right in, everything went without problems and was a lot of fun. It was a tremendous experience.’
And it was the beginning of a high-level career. The 33-year-old, who in his primary profession works as a technical mathematician for a larger insurance company at an 80% workload, is among the most promising linesmen in our hockey. His recipe? ‘The most important thing is to be yourself, not pretend anything. That is perceived as inauthentic, which the players notice too’, he explains. And: ‘one has to ensure a good, friendly connection with the players, communicate well with them. And one has to go all-out all the time and try to put time into this job off the ice as well, for example by studying videos and off-ice practice. It is also important to have good people around you. My wife and family have accompanied me from the very beginning and always supported me.’
His wife will also travel with him to Davos. It is Fuchs’ second appearance at the traditional event after 2018 and the excitement is huge, as he says, ‘there is magic in the air. Davos as a venue with its nice ice arena is special, and in addition there are snowy mountains and different teams than in championship play. And people are in great spirits, there is a different atmosphere than at “normal” games, there is a certain togetherness that is fun. Additionally, us referees can bring our families and get to know something a little different. It is quite relaxed and to officiate a game in this atmosphere is special. But you still want to give your best performance, as the Spengler Cup garners a lot of attention, both nationally and internationally, and you want to put your best foot forward.’

The Spengler Cup is a highlight for all participants. So too for Dario Fuchs, for whom the final series 2022 between EV Zug and ZSC Lions was a highlight as well, as he was in action in most games. Internationally he still has some catching up to do, as he has had less luck there. ‘I once travelled to the World Juniors in Canada, but the tournament was canceled due to covid. Last season I was invited to that tournament again but had to cancel, because I dislocated my patella. But now I will continue pedal to the metal to make it to a big tournament. A world championship or the Olympic Games would be like winning the lottery for me.’

The 2023 Spengler Cup will be officiated by:

Head referees:
-    Stricker Daniel (SUI)
-    Tscherrig Michael (SUI)
-    Hurlimann Stefan (SUI)
-    Lemelin Mark (USA/SUI)
-    Fonselius Stefan (FIN)
-    Hribik Jan (CZE)

-    Cattaneo Eric (SUI)
-    Fuchs Dario (SUI)
-    Steenstra Zach (SUI)
-    Stalder Michael (SUI)
-    Hautamaki Onni (FIN)
-    Lederer Vit (CZE)

Quelle: SLAPSHOT – Das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz   Foto: Keystone