|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Swiss Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||November 23, 1908 (founding member)|
|Top league||National League A|
|Current champion||SC Bern|
Switzerland is a country in Western Europe. Bern is the capital, and Zurich is the largest city.
|National League A||1937||-||Top-level national competition|
|National League B||1947||-||Second-level national competition|
|Swiss 1.Liga||1937||-||Third-level national competition|
|Swiss 2.Liga||-||Fourth-level national competition|
|Swiss 3.Liga||-||Fifth-level national competition|
|Swiss 4.Liga||-||Sixth-level national competition|
|Swiss Cup||1957||-||National cup competition|
|Swiss National Championship||1908||1937||Defunct national championship|
|Swiss International Championship||1915||1933||Defunct championship open to foreigners|
|Swiss Serie A||1937||1947||Defunct second-level league|
|Swiss Serie B||1910||1947||Defunct second-level league*|
|Swiss junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
|Swiss Women's Hockey League||1986||-||Top-level women's competition|
(*Served as third-level league from 1937-1947.)
History of hockey in SwitzerlandEdit
For more information on the early years, please see Early Swiss Hockey.
Bandy was played in Switzerland dating back to the 1880s and the country's first ice hockey games were played in 1902. In 1908, the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation was founded, and the country became a founding member of the Ligue International de Hockey Sur Glace (the present-day IIHF) on November 23 of the same year.
The Swiss National Championship was first contested in 1909. The International Championship, which allowed imports to participate, existed alongside the national championship from 1915 to 1933. Hockey was most popular in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in the early years. Akademischer EHC Zürich became the first team from the German-speaking part of the country to join the national federation in 1910. The sport quickly spread throughout Switzerland.
The Spengler Cup, which is Europe's longest-running tournament for club teams, was first contested in 1923. The cup was donated by Dr. Carl Spengler, whose son Alexander was an avid hockey player. In 1926, Switzerland's first artificial ice rink opened in Davos.
The National League A (known as the Nationalliga A before 2007) was founded as the country's national league in 1937. It has been contested every year since then, with the exception of 1940. HC Davos won 10 straight championships from 1938-1948 while EHC Arosa captured seven consecutive titles between 1951 and 1957. HC Villars, HC La Chaux-de-Fonds (who won six championships in a row from 1968-1973) and SC Bern emerged as contenders in the 1960s, and EHC Biel did as well during the following decade. HC Lugano became a yearly contender in the 1980's and early 1990's while the Kloten Flyers won their first championship since 1967 in 1993, the first of four straight. Since 2000, Bern, Davos, Lugano, and the ZSC Lions have been the top clubs in the NLA.
The national team made its international debut at the 1909 Coupe de Chamonix. A year later, Switzerland hosted the inaugural 1910 European Championship. Games were played at the winter resort town of Les Avants. Davos was the site for the 1926 European Championship, where the hosts won the gold medal.
The national team was a strong competitor on the international scene until the early 1950s. The Swiss later earned European titles in 1935, 1939 and 1950, as well as a silver medal the 1935 World Championships, and bronze medals at the Olympics in 1928 and 1948.
During the 1930s, the "Ni-sturm" and "Er-sturm" forward lines became well-known around Europe. The former consisted of the legendary Richard "Bibi" Torriani (probably the best Swiss player ever), and the brothers Pic and Hans Cattini. The trio were all on the Swiss roster for the first time at the 1933 World Championship and remained a force throughout the decade. The other line featured Heini Lohrer and the Kessler brothers (Herbert and Charly). These two combinations helped the Swiss to a bronze medal at the 1937 World Championships and a gold at the European Championships two years later.
Although they won three straight bronze medals at the World Championships from 1951-1953, the national team's level of play soon declined, and between 1961 and 1990, the Swiss primarily competed in the B Pool, with the occasional promotion to the A Pool and relegation to the C Pool. Since 1991, the national team has played better, and they have competed exclusively in the Top Division since 1998. They made it to the bronze medal game in 1992 and 1998, settling for fourth place on both occasions.
The national team scored two historic upsets at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, defeating the Czech Republic 3–2 and shutting out Canada 2–0 two days later. They finally fell to Sweden in the quarterfinals. At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Swiss nearly stunned Canada again in round-robin play, taking the heavily favored Canadians to a shootout, which they lost 1–0 for a narrow 3–2 loss.
By far their greatest success since the 1930s was winning silver at the 2013 World Championship. Led by the solid defending of Roman Josi, Raphael Diaz, and Julien Vauclair, the play of forwards Julian Walker, Nino Niederreiter, Andres Ambuhl, and Denis Hollenstein, and the goaltending of Reto Berra and Martin Gerber, the Swiss won their preliminary round group and made it all the way to the gold medal game, where they succumbed to Sweden, 5-1.
A list of some of the best Swiss players of all-time would include: David Aebischer, Olivier Anken, Ferdinand "Pic" Cattini, Hans Cattini, Manuele Celio, Raphael Diaz, Walter Durst, Jorg Eberle, Martin Gerber, Emil Handschin, Roman Josi, Jakob Kolliker, Alfred Luthi, Gebhard Poltera, Ulrich Poltera, Otto Schlapfer, Richard "Bib" Torriani, and Hans-Martin Trepp.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene in 1987, playing in the World Women's Hockey Tournament. They participated in the IIHF European Women Championships five times between 1989 and 1996, winning the bronze medal in 1995. Switzerland played in the first IIHF World Women's Championship in 1990. In 2012, they won the bronze medal, their best ever result at the Women's WC. The women's national team has played in the Olympics three times, finishing third in 2014. The women's U18 national team has participated in the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships yearly since 2008.
The junior national team first participated in the IIHF World U20 Championship in 1978, finishing in eighth place. Fourth place at the world juniors in 2002 and 2010 are their two best finishes to date.