June 22, 2024

Director Nati Weibel: ‘Canada is better on paper’

Lars Weibl, sporting director at the Swiss Ice Hockey Club, has every reason to be in a good mood


The Swiss return to Prague after a 3-1 quarter-final win over Germany in Ostrava. Interview with Lars Whipple.

no time? Blue Sports sums you up

  • On Saturday evening, the Swiss hockey team will face Canada in the World Cup semi-finals.
  • In an interview with Keystone-SDA, Nati director Lars Whipple talked about the semifinals.
  • The national team lost the group match to Canada 2: 3. “We still have the potential to improve,” says Whipple.

The Swiss Ice Hockey Club’s sports director talks to the Keystone-SDA news agency about the importance of the win over their arch rival, what he’s particularly liked so far and how he sees the starting position for Saturday’s semi-final at 6.20. PM against defending champions Canada (on Blue Sport im Live).

Lars Weibel, hand in hand The pressure was immense in the quarter-final against Germany (3:1), and another defeat to their arch rival would have drawn some criticism. Does this make the relief greater?

Lars Whipple: I would rather say it’s confirmation that the path we’ve taken is working, that the right people with the right knowledge are on staff and that the team is in a good place. That’s why we were really happy.

What has impressed you most about the team’s performance so far?

I liked that we were able to largely correct the shortcomings identified during the analysis, on which we worked intensively and constantly demanded their implementation. So, against Germany, we were not only able to accept the pressure, but we were also able to love it. Then we focused on playing with the right intensity at the right moment and being tactically diverse, so we know when to play offensively and when to play cleanly in defence. In this regard, we have become more flexible and mature.

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Can performance coach Stefan Schwitter’s concept of focus be observed off the ice? Do you face players differently than in previous years?

This is notable and one of many pieces of the puzzle. However, we have so much character, passion, commitment and, above all, good players in the team that it is difficult to say what influences what. However, employees can give a team a lot.

How do you see the starting position against Canada?

We will continue to focus only on the moment and simply prepare ourselves as optimally as possible. We already believed during our first duel (2:3) that our paths could cross again. That’s why we analyzed this match early and know exactly what we need to do better. Of course I can’t go into that.

Do you see yourself as an equal with Canada?

We lost narrowly, although we still have the potential to improve, so we are very confident going into this match. But it is also a fact that Canada is better on paper.

Is the tournament actually successful in one way or another or only if you win a medal?

I can’t answer that, it’s not just an empty phrase. This would be analytical and does not fit with our approach of always being in the here and now. We are convinced that a country like Switzerland can only be so successful. So we’re not looking back or forward, we just want to win the semi-final.