May 22, 2024

Langenthal – or when the journalist is the best hockey manager

On February 22, 2023, after 20 years of promotion, three titles (2012, 2017, 2019) and a feasibility study for promotion to the highest league that was collecting dust in the drawers, SC Langenthal's professional hockey chapter ends with a 2:5 defeat in the playoff quarterfinals in Olten. Fans and players cry.Image: Cornerstone

Ice Cream Master Zug

After a good year of lights out in professional hockey with voluntary relegation, SC Langenthal has been miraculously revived in amateur hockey. The man behind the local hockey miracle is…a journalist.

Klaus Zug

At the beginning of December 2022, the Regional Hockey Theater will begin in Langenthal, something unique in recent history. President Jean Kampf announced the voluntary withdrawal from the Swiss League to the highest amateur league, the MyHockey League. On February 22, 2023, after 20 years of promotion, three titles (2012, 2017, 2019) and a feasibility study for promotion to the highest league that was collecting dust in the drawers, SC Langenthal's professional hockey chapter ends with a 2:5 defeat in the playoff quarterfinals in Olten. Fans and players cry.

Boss Jian Kampf simply turns off the lights and sneaks out the back door. The securities company SC Langenthal was dissolved. The club was left with nothing. Langenthal is the city with the largest number of millionaires based on population (about 16,000 inhabitants). One of the most beautiful places between Bern and Zurich.

There are many companies here. Small, medium and larger companies. But no one really wants to commit to hockey anymore. None of the politicians, millionaires and managers want to reveal themselves and take responsibility for leadership. For the first time in our hockey history, a veteran journalist becomes president of an important hockey club: Walter Reiser. He has accompanied SC Langenthal since the early 1980s as a critical and charitable correspondent. He did not even dare to dream that, as head of SCL, he would one day be the successor to such celebrities as the later government chancellor Hans-Jörg Kaser or the real estate tycoon Stefan Anliker.

Walter Reisser had already retired from the Front to serve as editor-in-chief of the Langenthaler Tageblatt and then as press director of the local newspaper Unter Emmenthaler, and founded his own communications company and left reporting to his colleagues. Son Leroy, marketing director of the local bank newspaper. At SC Langenthal, he took over the presidency of the club – in addition to the securities company, which was responsible for professional operations, it was actually just a decoration office.

And now in the spring of 2023, after the voluntary relegation and dissolution of the General Assembly, everything suddenly depends on the club president. “Since the AG for professional operations was dissolved, we had to start over in a new location,” says Walter Reiser. “We had to create another company for the team in the amateur league and negotiate new contracts for all players, coaches, the office and every service. We did not know at the beginning of August what “If we were to put a team together for the MyHockey League.”

Journalists are the best hockey managers. Walter Reiser has achieved a masterpiece. He secured four major sponsors (including former president Stefan Anliker, who now mainly supported FC Langenthal after GC's departure) to guarantee the club, newly founded in the amateur league, a total of 300,000 francs per season for three years. He was able to convince the city of Langenthal to take over the ice lease in Schören for three years. We were able to save the successful youth department. And when the season starts, there's a team. They lost 10 of their first 12 games and were unable to climb off the bottom of the table for several months. “We had to expect it and it was always clear to us that we would only be able to stay in the league with a lot of luck. But we couldn't say that before the season. We would have discouraged everyone.”

Now the early rescue has been achieved in the final qualifying match. In this latest match against a Düdingen Bulls team with the same number of points, everything is at stake: the winner in the playoffs, and the loser in the relegation stages. 2022 fans will come to the Shoars on Wednesday for this “showdown.” For comparison: For the last qualifying match in the history of the SCL in the Swiss League against La Chaux-de-Fonds (2:3 nP) on February 3, 2023, there were almost the same number (2046). Thanks to a fast start (3:0 after 9:39 minutes), Langenthal beat Düdingen Bulls 3:2 and can now compete against Les in the preliminary round with a good chance.

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It's literally a last-minute rescue with interesting side effects. For there to be a happy ending, first managing director Mark Kampf must lace his boots again for the last nine games and finally young coach Stephane Tschannen, who ended his career two years ago and whose shirt is dangling under the boots. Roof Hall returned to the ice after a two-year hiatus from training and playing, and at the age of 39, he has stormed the last two games. In the last two matches, Stefan Tschannen, Fabio Klay and Mark Kampf formed the nostalgic line that shook the Swiss League in the 2021/22 season and secured the two rescue victories against Les and Düdingen Bulls. Mockers complained of too much nostalgia as Joachim Fuschitzer, the most exciting goalkeeper in the club's history (founded in 1946), was not asked to return for the crucial final stage because the 90-year-old was currently busy organizing his team. Moving to a retirement home.

Walter Reiser will endure the ridicule calmly. He has managed to build a new SC Langenthal from the ground up under the most difficult conditions, both athletically and economically, and to renew enthusiasm for hockey: on average, 1,155 women, men and children play dilapidated hockey in every qualifying match – rushed the Shorin Temple. As a potential relegation candidate, they only got an early boost in the league in their last game on Wednesday and lost all four games against local rivals Hotwell Hockey. Never before has a German-speaking Swiss team in the MyHockey League seen such a crowd in the playoffs. Even EHC Basel, as the qualification winners, only had 1,013 fans on average in the promotion season (2021/22).

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It is also worth noting that Walter Reiser had clearly stated before the season that there would be no posting on coach Robert Osman's chair. No matter what happens. Yes, he guarantees, so to speak, with his word of honor that the coach will not be fired. A bold statement from a boss who once fired several coaches from their positions as a Langenthal historian for 30 years and who once pestered Kevin Ryan with his reporting until the Canadian was fired in November 2009 shortly before he was sacked (Walter (as reporter Reiser demanded) would have been hard to stop Who beat up the journalist. We can say that Walter Reiser became Paul based on the training question from Saul. And at Langenthal, no one should come up with the stupid old saying anymore: If you don't make it, you become a hotelier; if you don't make it, you start with insurance, and if you don't It works, you become a journalist.

Gian Kampf, who turned off the lights during a Langenthal professional hockey match in December 2022 and quietly left the scene through the back exit, no longer wanted to comment on the matter. The successful businessman (architect and real estate developer) must be a bit annoyed that a journalist, of all people, could be described as the best hockey manager at Langenthal Arena.

HCD, SCB, ZSC and? These clubs have already become champions of Swiss hockey


HCD, SCB, ZSC and? These clubs have already become champions of Swiss hockey

Davos Summit Conference: 31 titles, 6 since 1986; Last champion: 2015.

Source: Keystone / Ennio Lenza

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