March 2, 2024

No promotion this season – Schlaepfer: “We will always participate from now on” – Sport


EHC Basel is the team of the moment in the Swiss league and is aiming high under sporting director Kevin Schlaepfer.

Five rounds before the end of the regular season, there's a team at the top of the Swiss league table that you wouldn't expect to be there: EHC Basel. The team leads last year's champion La Chaux-de-Fonds by two points. GCK Lions are already in third place, 15 points behind.

The 40 matches have resulted in 29 wins for EHCB, and with 159 goals, they clearly have the best attack in the league.

It feels like everything is falling into place at the moment.

One of his old acquaintances, Kevin Schlaepfer, played a big role in this success. The 54-year-old Ciesacher is the sporting director and face of the club, which has only been operating at professional level again since 2022.

Good luck with transfers

Schlaepfer effectively strengthened the team at the start of the season and his transfers had a significant impact. “Sometimes it comes down to luck, you have to be honest about that. “It kind of seems like everything is falling into place at the moment,” Schlaepfer remains humble in an interview with SRF.

He gives great praise to the technical staff: Canadian Eric Himmelfarb and his assistant Michel Zuaiter were able to put the pieces of the puzzle together optimally.

Promotion is not possible this season

Naturally, the high level also arouses desire: Schlaepfer does not hide the fact that after successful years as coach of EHC Biel and a less glorious season with Kloten, he wants to return to the National League one day. Will he be able to make this leap with his first great love?

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An image with symbolic power

Kevin Schlaepfer is leading the way – but the club is not allowed to move up. At least not this season.

Fresh Focus/Mark Schumacher

Certainly not at the moment: Basel in September Like many of his rivals (only Olten and Visp would be eligible for a promotion), he did not apply for a promotion, which aroused mixed feelings towards the ambitious Schläpfer. “We weren't that far back in September. Maybe it was a bit reckless,” he says on the one hand.

On the other hand, it is also recommended to clearly pursue your goals and take advantage of the euphoric wave when it comes. “From now on, we will definitely always be in,” Schlaepfer says.

The semi-finals of the qualifiers are a minimum goal

The enthusiastic sports director also agrees that the trees in Basel do not grow in the sky. Financial resources are limited compared to the established teams of La Chaux-de-Fonds or Olten. After six years of relegation from the Council of Advisors, Basel declared bankruptcy in 2014 and had to reorganize into the amateur league. “We don't have to become arrogant now,” Schlaepfer explains.

Basel have already earned the right to play in the qualifiers at home (starting in mid-February). After the GCK Lions reached the quarter-finals last year, they want to “at least get to the semi-finals” this season.