Basel enjoys quarterfinals with Swiss ice hockey pedigree

Ice hockey

In Basel, Switzerland and Canada battle in the quarterfinals of the Junior World Championships

The U18 World Cup enters its decisive phase this Thursday, with the quarter-finals and the Swiss junior national team in Basel and Canada.

Matteo Wagner (right, next to Endo Meyer) celebrates after scoring against Finland.

Claudio Thoma / New Focus

Matteo Wagner from Padming fulfilled a small dream at the start of the U18 World Junior Championship in his home country: a goal against Finland. Because the Basel bid, who grew up in Ticino and the Basel area and matured as a player with youth teams at EHC Basel and Langnau, lives in Kuopio, Finland, where he pursues his dream of becoming a professional ice hockey player.

A 4-2 defeat against Finland at the start of the tournament did not prevent a 2-2 draw in the meantime, but further progress was impressive. Switzerland beat Norway 5-0, with Matteo Wagner scoring the last goal, then beat Latvia 5-1 to qualify for the quarter-finals.

After the swatter now against the record world champion

The “Stängeli” that the Swiss juniors had to endure in the last, meaningless group game can often be described as ordinary: against the record world champions USA (10 titles in 22 events since 1999) it happened to others.

The tournament now enters the knockout stages, taking place in Basel and Brundtrut this Thursday. Switzerland’s opponents at Basel’s St. Jacob Arena (kick-off 5.30pm; entry free for under 16s) are youngsters from ice hockey’s homeland of Canada, most recently world champions in 2021 and second only to the US with four titles all-time. The Canadians finished their preliminary group in second place with a loss against defending champions Sweden.

14,000 spectators watch the first ten games in Basel

The Swiss U18 national team at the start of the World Cup in Basel in front of 2000 spectators.

The Swiss U18 national team at the start of the World Cup in Basel in front of 2000 spectators.

Photo: Claudio Thoma / freshfocus

Around 30,000 spectators watched the 20 opening round matches, with similar numbers for Basel (14,011) and Ajoi (14,329). Switzerland’s previous four games at the St. Jakob Arena have averaged 2,370 spectators, compared to 3,277 against Latvia.

The expectations of local organizers in Basel, who had hoped for 3000 spectators per game, were not fully met. Apart from the highest attendance per game, Basel also recorded a minuscule back-to-back total of 342 against Finland at the Hall in Latvia on the second day’s play.

U18 World Cup

quarter final

Thursday, April 27, Basel (St. Jakob-Arena) 12.30pm: USA-Czech Republic, 17.30: Canada-Switzerland. Brundtrut, 3pm: Finland-Slovakia, 8pm: Sweden (holders)-Latvia.

The semi-final (Saturday, April 29, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), Game 3 at No. 3 (Sunday, April 30, 3 p.m.) and that The end game (Sunday, 7pm) will be held in Basel. Youth up to 16 years of age can play at St. Jacob’s Arena Free entry.

U18 World Championship on the World Federation IIHF’s website

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