Hockey is being celebrated!
Article - Hockey is being celebrated!
Defenseman Dominik Egli will play his second Spengler Cup with HC Davos this year. His anticipation is as big as the ambitions he and his team have going into the tournament.
Actually, the now 25-year-old should have celebrated his Spengler Cup debut in 2021, his first season with HCD after transferring from the Rapperswil-Jona Lakers. The anticipation was enormous – and was stopped in the last possible moment when the tournament was canceled due to several Covid-19 cases. Today he admits that he was very frustrated at the time although the decision was quite reasonable, ‘even athletically, as two, three teams could not have even participated.’
So, the defenseman had his premiere at the traditional tournament last year, making his childhood dream come true. ‘It was just a dream to even play for HCD. With my move to HCD the Spengler Cup became an option, which is otherwise rather difficult for Swiss unless you play for a club which is invited or if the national team would play at a tournament again’, says Egli. ‘The event is unique, it is respected worldwide, and it is extremely cool, to be there.’ Whoever is or was a part of this event, raves about it. The man from Thurgau also confirms ‘that everything I had heard and seen on TV, was spot on, the atmosphere is unique.’ On the one hand, all the HCD games, as well as most other games, are sold out, and otherwise there is a ‘fairly neutral’ atmosphere, as Egli puts it. ‘You get the feeling that the fans are attending the games to experience the event and not above all to support their teams. It is an event that is enjoyed with everything that goes with it. Hockey is being celebrated!’
But for the players, that goes without saying, the sport is in the forefront. ‘Everyone, who is on the ice, wants to win the game and the trophy. As soon as it becomes about a title, it is a serious matter’, says Dominik Egli, who also raves about the format. ‘In Sweden, Finland, and Czechia three leagues are represented that play hockey at a very high level. That makes for cool games and allows the fans to see the best of the best. In addition, contrary to league play, you play for a title over six days – a cool format!’
HCD has been waiting for a triumph at its home tournament since 2011, for a final berth since 2012. Egli’s premiere last year ended in the semifinals when his team suffered a bitter 5-0 defeat to the later tournament champion Ambri-Piotta. So, the host has to make amends, which the defenseman confirms, ‘our goal is obviously to win the tournament, otherwise we would have no reason to show up. And for HCD it would also be time to be successful at our own tournament. Such a success and matchups with European top teams can then provide an extra boost for the championship.’
It is important to keep the road to the title as short as possible, to win the group stage to get an additional day off, and not have to play five games in six days. That sounds easier than it is when you, like HCD, are set to face record champion Team Canada and the Swedish team Frolunda in the opening round. ‘We were able to beat Team Canada last year and Frolunda is a Swedish team – that will be a cool challenge and extremely exciting. Hopefully we have enough for two wins and an extra day off,” says Dominik Egli short and dry. The day off is there to fill the tank on the one hand, but also to enjoy the special Spengler Cup atmosphere in Davos. Last year that was impossible for HCD’s players as they played four consecutive days. ‘We were really continuously playing and recuperating, now the plan is to win the first two games and have a day off,’ says Dominik Egli with a grin.
Text: SLAPSHOT – Das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz Foto: KEYSTONE/Gian Ehrenzeller