2024 Worlds Preview: Switzerland

Team Switzerland is facing perhaps their toughest test yet in Group A play. Can they finally break the bronze medal loss streak and make it to the podium this year?

2024 Worlds Preview: Switzerland
Source: IIHF

Switzerland has been known to come into international tournaments with a young roster, and it’s resulted in a three-tournament streak of making it to the medal games. This year is no different: an average age of 21.7 years, 12 players with Olympic experience, six players playing in their first World Championship, seven players with NCAA experience, and four players with pro experience outside of Switzerland (SDHL/PWHL).

The Swiss are also on a three-game losing streak in the bronze medal game and are hoping this assortment of young talent will be the one that gets them their first World Championship medal since 2012. It’s not going to be an easy road back to the medal games for Switzerland as they’re in a very tough group, and unless they finish third in Pool A they’ll most likely be playing either Finland or Czechia, two teams who are looking very dangerous.

Switzerland stands on the blueline after a Bronze Medal loss to Czechia
Source: Matt Zambonin/IIHF

The Schedule

As the heading says, this is the schedule of the Swiss for the round robin part of the tournament. As you can tell, the Swiss are going to get a rude and early introduction to the tournament. After that fight is over, they have the biggest games of the Pool versus Finland and versus Czechia. Switzerland makes it to the quarterfinal regardless of Pool A results, but they’ll have control over their opponent should they finish their pool play strong.

April 3rd

7:00 PM

vs USA

April 5th

3:00 PM

vs Canada

April 8th

3:00 PM

vs Finland

April 9th

3:00 PM

vs Czechia

The Roster

  • Alena Lynn Rossel (D)
  • Alessia Baechler (D)
  • Alexandra Lehmann (G)
  • Alina Marti (F)
  • Alina Müller (C)
  • Alizee Aymon (D/F)
  • Andrea Brändli (G)
  • Annic Büchi (D)
  • Cindy Joray (F)
  • Emma Ingold (F)
  • Ivana Wey (F)
  • Janine Hauser (D)
  • Kaleigh Quennec (F)
  • Lara Christen (D)
  • Lara Stalder (C)
  • Laura Zimmermann (F)
  • Leoni Balzer (F)
  • Naemi Herzig (F)
  • Nicole Vallario (D)
  • Noemi Ryhner (F)
  • Rahel Enzler (F)
  • Saskia Maurer (G)
  • Sinja Leemann (F)
  • Stefanie Wetli (D)
  • Vanessa Schaefer (RW)

The Notables

If you’re not brand new to the women’s game, then you’ll probably notice three names on the roster: Lara Stalder, Andrea Brändli, and Alina Müller. They are among the top players in the entire world and if Switzerland finally wants that bronze medal, those three are going to need to be at their best. All eyes are going to be looking toward young star Alina Müller. Ever since Müller burst onto the stage at the 2018 Olympics she’s been tasked with leading teams offensively, and it's hard to argue she hasn’t done that repeatedly.

Chart showing Alina Müller leading her team offensively

Müller followed up her 2018 Olympic performance in the 2022 Olympics with arguably just as good production. In the NCAA with Northeastern University, Müller was the leading point scorer in four of her five seasons and went 5-for-5 for leading her team in points per game. Now with Boston she’s once again leading the way, with a team-high 13 points in 19 games.

Müller won’t be alone, though, as the veteran high-end forward Lara Stalder is still producing at an elite rate. She had 61 points in 32 SDHL games last season and this season in the Swiss ‘B’ league she’s put up 129 points in 17 games. That’s a 48 point lead over the next highest in points on the recently promoted EV Zug.

Chart showing Andrea Brändli as a top 3 SDHL goalie

Last but not least is Andrea Brändli who, after multiple tournaments of trying to cement herself as Switzerland’s number one goalie, did so at the 2023 World Championships – and she has continued that success into this season. Brändli was stellar in the SDHL this season finishing third in GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average) and second in Quality Starts %. She’s definitely in the running for SDHL Goalie of the Year. Her success didn’t stop in the regular season, as she’d help MoDo Hockey upset Brynäs IF to earn a shot at the SDHL title. MoDo would fall in three games to Luleå HF though not by a lack of effort from the Swiss goalie. Brändli is no stranger to facing the long odds and she’ll be doing so again this time around.

The X-Factors

If you’re going to make an impact at the World Championships, you need more than just three players leading the way. Having at least one other player with an historic tournament of their own is definitely helpful, and Swtizerland is going to need that extra bit of scoring this time around.

The first name that comes to mind as a X-Factor is Rahel Enzler. The University of Maine forward broke out during the 2023 World Championship, putting up seven points in seven games after only having 11 points in 29 NCAA games. That breakout at the 2023 WHC has turned into a breakout in the NCAA, as Enzler this season finished with a major career high for points in a NCAA season with 26 points in 35 games. There’s no guarantee this will lead to an even bigger Worlds performance than last season, but it’s certainly very promising, and many eyes will be on the young forward.

There’s another young forward on the Swiss roster who looks like she could be a problem for teams in their Pool: Ivana Wey. Admittedly picking Wey as an X-Factor is a taking a large swing especially compared to other names on the roster. What stands out about Wey is two factors: she’s among the larger players in size, and she carried her own line on EV Zug where she posted 79 points in 15 games.

If you wanted to make an argument against Wey, you could point out that she was playing on a superpower team in the Swiss Second League (SWHL B). The counterpoint to that is when playing against SWHL A competition in the National Cup, Wey had three goals and three assists (all primary too) in three games against three of the top four teams in the SWHL A.

We’ve done two forwards, so let’s add in a defender as a X-Factor in Alessia Baechler. The 18-year-old defender has been developing her game getting ready for the senior level of hockey, and there’s a real possibility she might end up having a Mira Jungåker-type tournament. If there’s one thing Baechler will be able to hold her own at, it’s in the physicality department. At 5’ 9” and 150lbs, she's not a lanky person. There’s going to be some veterans especially from the PWHL who are going to find themselves in a bit of shock when she gives that physicality back.

Baechler also has offence to her game, which Switzerland needs. She was a consistent point producer at the WJC U18 level, and this season in the SWHL A Baechler had a respectable seven points in 13 games. What will give Swiss fans hope is Baechler putting up six points, four of those goals, in nine playoff games on a championship team.
Switzerland is going to be in their toughest Pool group since they first joined Pool A, which is saying something since at the 2019 WHC they went 0-4 in the round robin with a -19 goal differential. The difference between now and then is that now, you have legitimate gold medal contenders in Czechia and Finland – rightfully so, as no one was expecting Japan or Russia to make a legitimate attempt at a gold medal game spot. Now that’s not to say that Switzerland is going to be run over in Pool A. They’ve been a thorn in the side of the Czechs, almost stealing away a bronze both times, and if the Finns aren’t careful they’ll surprise them too.

Unlike the four teams in their pool, though, Switzerland has to bring their A game every match or it’ll turn ugly. Luckily for them, they have some real star talent in Lara Stalder, Andrea Brändli, and Alina Müller so opposing teams do have to be careful.
The most likely scenario to play out is Switzerland ends up fifth in Pool A and will play one of Czechia or Finland in the quarterfinals. Switzerland would need to win two pool games to end up playing a Pool B opponent, which is possible but not probable. In a fourth versus fifth place Pool A game, the odds are not in favour of the Swiss. They won’t need a miracle to win, but they’re going to have to play the game of their lives.

If you’ve seen the work of Carlie, Dom Luszczyszyn, or Shayna Goldman, something they do is put out probability models. I do not have that superpower, so instead I’ll rank the likelihood of where the Swiss will finish in the tournament from most likely to least likely:

1. 5th Place
2. 4th Place
3. 6th Place
4. 3rd Place
5. 7th Place
6. 8th Place
7. 2nd Place
8. 1st Place