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2022 Worlds Preview: Team Switzerland

Is this young team ready to break out?

Ice Hockey - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 8
Alina Müller and Lara Stalder celebrate a goal at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Last Time Around

The Swiss had the same outcome the last two major tournaments: fourth place in both the 2021 World Championships and the 2022 Olympics. In both tournaments they lost to Finland in the bronze medal game.

Three players to watch

Sinja Leemann

At just 20 years old, Sinja Leemann has already competed in three major international tournaments. She had points in both the 2021 World Championships and the 2022 Olympic Games. After seasons with Weinfelden and Thurgau, Leemann joined the ZSC Lions Frauen in Zurich for their championship-winning year. In the regular season, she had 32 points in 23 games, and in playoffs, she had six goals and four assists in their five-game run to the championship. Leemann is an elite young talent who will be critical to Switzerland’s future. I am intrigued by the idea of her playing on the top line with Alina Mueller. I think Leemann’s speed, down-low passing, and finishing would suit playing Müller.

Alina Müller

Alina Müller’s stardom is not a secret. The 24-year-old is the best player on this team. This year, she was ranked second on The Ice Garden’s top 25 under 25 list. She is a 200-foot player who is not afraid to chase, touch, and move the puck in all areas of the ice. Deep in her own end, she challenges the action before leading and coordinating offence up ice.

She’s a very technical player able to move or shoot the puck with precision. Her stats indicate that she is a pass-first player, which works well for her, but it would be exciting to watch her shoot the puck more... because why not?

After a bad injury in the 2021 World Championships, Müller made a triumphant return at the 2022 Olympic Games, where she had four goals and six assists in seven games. Expect an even more dominant performance this tournament.

Lara Christen

Laura Christian has taken substantial steps as a player on her club team and internationally over the last three years. Expect her to continue to improve as she is just 19 years old.

At the Olympic Games, the defender had three points which bested her one point at the 2021 World Championships. She was a high-scoring member of the Zurich team who won the SWHL championship in 2022 and a young but productive player on the 2021 team.

Christian is an elite puck handler and very strong skater making her well suited to directing play from the blue line and quarterbacking transitions. She holds the puck and moves efforts effortlessly while keeping her head up as players become open.

I hope it is becoming evident to you that I think the technical abilities of this young core are elite. The combination of skills should make Switzerland’s power play extremely dangerous. I hope we get the opportunity to see some of these young players use their skills in harmony during this tournament.

Storyline

The team is young, with an average age of just 22. Despite their age, most of the team has already competed in a major international tournament. Just 16-year-old Alessia Baechler and 22-year-old goalie Alexandra Lehmann will join the team in competition for the first time. This entire roster is ready for a breakout.

Switzerland likes to play to their stars. It’s no secret who the best players are, and coach Colin Müller ensures he gets the most out of key players. The strength of certain players allows Switzerland to reign victorious over weaker sides. The lack of depth shows when they play powerhouses like Canada and the United States, who have star power up and down the lineup. To take the team to the next level, players further down the roster will need to step up.

Switzerland’s two oldest players, Evelina Raselli and Lara Stalder, have been cornerstones of this team for a decade. Between them, they have 105 games of World Championship and Olympic experience. Stalder was a stud this year in the SDHL, scoring 34 goals and 55 assists in 33 games. She was a +63. I don’t care how dubious of a stat plus-minus is - that is insane!

The rest of the team is substantially younger and less experienced. This tournament will indicate the team we will see representing the Helvetic confederation over the next five years. The young players have their rookie tournaments behind them, now it is time for them to take steps forward and break out.

Schedule

All times are in ET

  • Aug. 26, 12:30 p.m. v Japan
  • Aug. 27, 1 p.m. vs Canada
  • Aug. 29, 1 p.m. vs USA
  • Aug. 31, 4 p.m. vs Finland