Date: January 22, 2018

Switzerland Olympic roster

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

THE MEN’S ROSTER

Men’s national team coach Patrick Fischer will take three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forward to Korea. 17 of the nominated players were on the roster for the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

“With Leonardo Genoni, Jonas Hiller and Tobias Stephan three of the currently best goaltenders from the domestic league with international experience are on the roster. On defence we build on skilled and experienced defencemen and complete forwards who work well both offensively and defensively and stand out one-on-one,” Fischer said.

All 25 players join from clubs from Switzerland’s National League.

Switzerland will host a pre-competition game on 6 February against neighbouing country Germany in Kloten before travelling to Korea the day after where they will have a four-day camp in Goyang near Seoul and play another exhibition game on 11 February against Norway.

At the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament Switzerland is seeded in Group A with Olympic champion Canada, the Czech Republic and host Korea.

THE WOMEN’S ROSTER

The Swiss women’s national team, which won Olympic bronze four years ago in Sochi, includes three goaltenders, eight defenders and 12 forwards. 19 players were part of the team that competed in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

For goaltender Florence Schelling and defender Nicole Bullo it will be the fourth Olympic Winter Games. They have competed in all Olympic women’s ice hockey tournaments since Switzerland was qualified for the first time in 2006.

Two players join from U.S. college teams while four play in Sweden including two key players for Linkoping. Goaltender Florence Schelling was named MVP and Best Goaltender of the 2014 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament and Lara Stalder was Switzerland’s top scorer in the Olympic Qualification.

“We bring a team with a lot of character and spirit that has a lot of experience and leadership on and off the ice. We have three strong and experienced goaltenders, a very stable defence and a lot of speed and creativity up-front,” said national team head coach Daniela Diaz, a former national team player herself whose brother Raphael will compete in PyeongChang 2018 with the men’s team.

The roster includes five sisters. The Waidacher sisters Isabel, Monika and Nina, and twin sisters Laura and Sara Benz.

The women’s team will travel to Korea on 1st February and during a five-day camp in Goyang play exhibition games against Canada on 4th February and against Finland on 6th February.

Switzerland will play in the “bottom” group B against Sweden, Japan and Korea and aim for one of the two spots from the group in the final round.

Slovakia Olympic roster

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

THE MEN’S ROSTER

“We have plenty of creative players there. We wanted to mix it so that there would be youth, experience, creativity and quick legs. With the game system and the team, we wanted to get closer to the modern style of hockey,” said General Manager Miroslav Satan.

Defenceman Dominik Granak will be the most experienced player on the roster with 175 national team games. 30-year-old Ladislav Nagy is the oldest on the roster, 21-year-old forward Matus Sukel the youngest.

14 players join from the Czech Extraliga and ten from the Slovak Extraliga. A bit surprisingly Michal Cajkovsky of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg is the only Slovak player in the Kontinental Hockey League who was named to the Olympic team.

Among the KHL omissions are Severstal Cherepovets goalie Julius Hudacek and players from the Slovak KHL team Slovan Bratislava such as Andrej Meszaros, Michal Repik and Marek Viedensky. Slovan currently has one of its worst seasons since joining the KHL and is fourth from bottom in the 27-team cross-border league. That may be one of the reasons the coaching staff is counting on players from elsewhere. Another may be the more North American style of play the new head coach Craig Ramsay wants to implement.

“This is definitely one of the most difficult things I have done in the few years I’ve been in hockey. I never had any preconceived emotions when I came here. I had to learn the players, meet the players, watch them play in their home teams. We took them through eight games. We had a pretty good response from our players. I didn’t come in with a plan who is going to play and which league they are in,” Ramsey said at a press conference in Bratislava.

“We have good players, they play hard, they did a good job for us. We agreed to take the players who showed the best, who try to do what was asked and we’re very pleased with our group. The players who come from the Slovak league deserve to be in. They surprised me, they have no trouble keeping up the pace. We plan to play a game that is up-tempo with more speed to our game. I really enjoyed the games I watched in the Slovak league. I think the kids played really hard and more of a North American style of the game and I thought this is going to fit to the game I want to play, that I enjoyed playing and that I enjoy coaching.”

For Ramsey it’s about the future and implementing a game system in the Slovak national team program. The future is represented by a couple of new faces especially in the offensive department. Milos Bubela, Michal Kristof, Patrik Lamper, Matej Paulovic and Matus Sukel all have played less than ten national team games so far and only exhibition games until now.

Despite that the team will have some experience. With an average age of 29 years the team will be older in average than in the past four World Championships.