The Spengler Cup – an event connecting people for 100 years
Article - The Spengler Cup – an event connecting people for 100 years
‘Sports unite’ – two words that are used often these days. For good reason as sports span across borders and bring people together. That is how it was even 100 years ago, when the first Spengler Cup took place in 1923.
Word War I had far-reaching social consequences. It cost the lives of millions of people and permanently changed society, for example by the returning soldiers, who oftentimes battled with physical and psychological problems and difficulties, but also by dissolving the classic role allocation. Jobs, which formerly were exclusively held by men, became partially accessible to women through WWI. After all, they had to fill the workplace of the men at war, for example as factory workers. As such, people found themselves in a rather complicated discovery phase.
Of course, the years of war from 1914 to 1918 had caused a chasm between the individual nations, which then had to be filled. A tried cure for that was sport, for which there was much enthusiasm in those days. It helped move the horrific wartime into the background and rediscover a new sense of joy.
The first Hockey Club Davos was founded in 1918 as a students’ and visitors’ club. Paul “Putzi” Muller, whose goal it soon became to build on local talent, entered the scene few months later. In early 1921 it happened - the existing club was transformed to the current HCD, which had the ambition to work only with locals and, as such, become independent of holiday guests; very soon this HCD also competed in its first championship games. The next step, which became existential to HCD in its over 100-year history, followed shortly thereafter: the launch of the Spengler Cup in 1923.
The Spengler Cup was brought to life as a sporting event unifying peoples with its healthy competitive nature. This was done by the Davos doctor Dr. med. Carl Spengler – the son of Alexander Spengler, who in the 19th century had laid the foundation for Davos becoming a spa resort. Carl Spengler was an HCD supporter and wanted to help his club, while at the same time intending to resurrect post-war bridges between wartime enemy nations by allowing them to approach each other and build new contacts in an athletic environment. So, on Christmas 1923, Carl Spengler started his mission to give once antagonized nations the possibility to compete on the ice and then, regardless of win or lose, shake each other’s hands.
The founder’s idea has proven sustainable; still today a range of teams from various leagues and countries compete each year during Boxing Week in Davos. While battling for the tournament title, the teams as well as fans, despite their athletic endeavours, mostly enjoy the friendly and unique atmosphere, in which people of all walks of life are unified and connected - in a single, grand ice hockey family.
Text: SLAPSHOT – das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz Foto: Keystone-sda