To live up to its reputation | Spengler Cup Davos

To live up to its reputation

Article - To live up to its reputation


Team Canada, which represents the pride and passion of Canadian ice hockey, finds itself in the centre of focus among the group of participants. Hockey Canada is working on its image within its own country and is eyeing the final at the 95th Spengler Cup.

‘The future of hockey is limitless’, said Katherine Henderson during her introductory message this summer. Since September she has been the most important “Hockey Mom” of the world. Who doesn’t know them, those enthusiastic ice hockey parents? They are known for their dedication and passion, which they invest into the development of their children - driving their young ones to the ice rink and back, and spending countless hours there themselves. They are an immensely important part of the sport. Katherine Henderson’s task now marks a new, maybe the largest, calibre in the sport of ice hockey. From Toronto the business woman now runs Hockey Canada as CEO - with the relatedly large responsibility for the pride of the whole nation.

Tradition and fan favourite
The charismatic Canadian team is considered a cornerstone of the Spengler Cup in Davos - it has been continually represented at the traditional tournament since 1984. This makes the Canadian team a fan favourite and year for year a strong contender for the desired Spengler Cup title. The essence of Canadian hockey is celebrated by the spectators in every game. And in the merchandising department the Canadians are among the top.
Athletically, Team Canada is expected to put forward an energetic display. The early exit in last year’s pre-semifinal was not what the organisation and fans had expected. Instead of defending its title, the Canadians fell to the strong willed Swedes from Orebro. The North Americans and their supporters, accustomed to success, will do everything in their power to live up to the Canadian expectations this year. And those are, of course, to win the final on December 31. The culture, style of play and the past successful participations are what distinguishes Team Canada at the world’s oldest hockey club tournament. Only host Hockey Club Davos (15 tournament titles) could possibly compete for the Canadians role as Spengler Cup record title holder (currently 16 titles). But, as far as the North Americans are concerned at least, that should at least not happen this year.

Henderson’s mission for the nation
The Canadians have to make amends not only in the Landwasser Valley, but in their own country as well. Especially among its sponsors, the reputation of the Canadian ice hockey federation has suffered, which is why Katherine Henderson is bracing herself for a difficult mission. The task is to regain the trust in the sport of hockey and build the shared joy as quickly as possible, if it does not want to lose its relevance. Ice hockey is a deeply rooted passion, a cultural icon, and an integral part of Canada’s national identity. Hockey is not just a game, but a symbol of team spirit, stamina and fairplay, that connects all Canadians throughout generations. Hockey arenas are places where the spirit of the country is reflected. Henderson pinpoints Hockey Canada’s mission statement such that ‘all Canadians experience hockey the way they like it.’ This shall be achieved in collaboration with her board members, the athletes, local federations, business partners, and fans. But the task will be a tall order.

The challenge of selecting a squad
The Spengler Cup is mostly an opportunity for the Canadians under contract in Switzerland to show themselves on a bright stage during Boxing Week. The participation at a tournament with such a rich history drives unique motivation and pride amongst the players. Aside from the on-ice events, the participants and their families experience a week in the wintery Landwasser Valley with excursions and sledding. Year for year, the roster formation is becoming increasingly more complicated for the Canadians. Not least because the Swiss themselves are increasingly shaping the local ice hockey culture. The number of available Canadian players is decreasing. This mirrors the growing importance of Swiss ice hockey and is posing further obstacles for Hockey Canada’s management.

Quelle: Jahrbuch Spengler Cup Davos 2023   Foto: Keystone