Two blockbusters to start off | Spengler Cup Davos

Two blockbusters to start off

Article - Two blockbusters to start off


Defending champion Ambri-Piotta and Dynamo Pardubice, one of the most commonly named favourites, will open the 95th Spengler Cup on December 26. The evening matchup features Team Canada looking for redemption and tournament newbie Frolunda Gothenburg.

This year’s Spengler Cup is set to begin with some fireworks. The opening ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the traditional international tournament will be highlighted by shooting star Remo Forrer, Swiss representative at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, exciting the spectators with his impressive songs.

Following that, at 2.10pm, the first two teams will put their cards on the table, or the ice. After last year’s surprise tournament victory, Ambri-Piotta returns as defending champion and hence in the role of the hunted. Coach Luca Cereda expects a challenging task. He has followed the opponent Dynamo Pardubice during its Champions League outings on TV and has observed that ‘the Czechs have a very strong team. It will be an extremely difficult game for us.’ But Ambri’s head coach also makes clear that ‘we have prepared ourselves for the Spengler Cup as well as possible physically, mentally, and tactically. We want to show our best hockey with heart and effort, make Pardubice’s life difficult and stay in the tournament as long as we can.’ Last year’s tournament experiences will help in that, as Cereda says that ‘the Spengler Cup win has fueled our confidence. We now know that we can also win the important games like that final and can achieve something.’

Dynamo Pardubice comes to Davos as the lone leader atop the Czech Extraliga standings. The team composed of exclusively Czech and Slovakian players is very experienced. More than a dozen players have already appeared at world championships. Pardubice’s top scorer is Robert Kousal. He was a forward for HC Davos from 2016 to 2018. Head coach Vaclav Varada knows HCD from his playing years as well, having won the Spengler Cup and Swiss championship in 2006. Varada has a clear idea for the upcoming tournament. ‘We want to play great games against strong opponents – and of course win.’ And the head coach reveals his recipe. ‘You will be successful when you work hard, stay patient, and love the game. I rely on team chemistry, excellent physical shape, and tactics. We have many players with exceptional skills who have played in the best leagues of Europe and North America.’

In the evening game (start at 8.15pm) of December 26, Team Canada will already be under pressure against Spengler Cup debutant Frolunda Gothenburg. Last year the record title holder (16 titles) lost all three games. The team consists of mostly Canadian pros, who are currently earning their wages as top performers on Swiss teams in the National League. Team Canada boasts a prominent staff. Head coach Bruce Boudreau is a coaching legend. From 2007 to the end of last season he was coaching teams in the NHL. And GM Joe Thornton, champion and Spengler Cup winner with Davos during the 2004-05 season, played 1901 games over 24 seasons as a brilliant forward in the world’s best hockey league.

Frolunda’s Spengler Cup premiere against Team Canada is highly anticipated. The club from Gothenburg is one of the most famous in European hockey. It is made up of an interesting mix of veterans and talents, and is tactically well schooled, like most Swedish teams. Part of the team’s foundation are defenseman Henrik Tommerns and forward Carl Klingberg, two players who fuelled Geneve-Servette and EV Zug in Switzerland in the past years.

Quelle: HCD-Onlineredaktion  Foto: Keystone