The new SC Bern – a giant trapped in no man’s land between times and regulations
Two days have just revealed the dimensions of SC Bern’s leadership failure once again and shown at the same time: that the incredible Titan is on the cusp of a recovery on and by the ice. The similarities with SCL tigers are staggering and it would be fatal to underestimate the importance of SCB.
The historian is tasked with telling what it is. Regardless of the name. The Berner Cup is a good opportunity for such a combo. The tournament has just been played for the sixth time at the same time (in August), at the same venue (in Langenthal) and with the same teams (SCB, Bell, Langenthal). If there is a possibility to compare yesterday and today, this is it.
What interests the historian: How is SC Bern actually performing? About the Giant, who was the last champion in 2016, 2017 and 2019 and then slipped to ninth place twice in a row.
At first glance, we can say: Perhaps never in a year has there been such a profound change in the sporting culture at a club as at SCB. Yes, in retrospect, the events of the last season seem more bizarre, crazy, and unbelievable.
Only now it becomes clear how much the SCB management lost its head a year ago in August 2020. How deep is the hockey company that has the highest sales in Europe in terms of sports.
It’s not that unwanted sporting advances weren’t recognized a year ago. As early as August 2020, the most loyal believers, the guys who have been with the team as stats and assistants for years, the guys who know their way around the SCB hole, but also the players’ agents and players, will be telling the most incredible stories of omissions, mistakes and absurdities from sporting leadership and from life. Daily under the leadership of sports coach Florence Schilling and Don Nashbor.
A year ago, the historian thought: This cannot be the case. Perhaps many of the stories trace back to the turmoil that occurred at a time when everything changed. And Mark Luthi is one of the best managers in the country. He certainly didn’t lose his mind.
Since Mark Luthi held executive positions in the sport, no one has dared to tell him what is happening. So it was with the fairy tale with the emperor without clothes: no one dared to tell the emperor that he was naked. And in August 2020, nobody told the King of Bern that he was technically naked.
We don’t want to wrap it all up again and sprinkle salt on the wounds that are healing well in the meantime. It looks like it is: SCB lost one season on the ice and two seasons off the ice as a result of what may be the most blatant athletic management failure to have occurred in hockey.
Meanwhile, SCB crashed to last season. What emergency coach Mario Coogler was able to correct again halfway through. Even worse, the transfer business has stalled: one important player extended his contract last season until the sporting director was sacked: defender Mika Henauer. Because he is studying in Bern. All other talent left and Andre Heim, who later became SCB’s top scorer in the playoffs, had not even received an extension offer.
The bill for this failure will have to be paid this season. In terms of sport, the SCB is on thin ice: since the old sporting leadership hasn’t made any transitions except for Daniel Manzato, the squad depth is now less than at any time since going up in 1986. Meanwhile, Bernese are glad that they are at least playing players like Christian Penana (I guess that’s how the name is spelled) or Yannick Hange can undo them. Both of them shouldn’t even train under Carrie Gallonn.
Gaëtan Haas did not return to the SCB even with the new sporty drive. He is now Bill’s main wolf. Nor could Marco Muller be transferred to Bern. He preferred to leave Embry early for Zug.
But the SCB is moving again. Titan is released from shock. For a long time SCB suffered from poor leadership in the sport, and now it is turning again, thanks to the hockey gods. Defender Romain Lovell will attend from Lugano next summer and Joel Fermin from Geneva. More moves in progress. But only: there’s nothing to be done about this season at the moment.
But the normalization of everyday sports life under the leadership of Raito Ravenir and Andrew Ebit is already having a beneficial effect on the entire organization. SCB is a sports company and the sports division has an impact on the entire company.
What is notable: muscle cramping goes away. The sometimes deceptive arrogance of last season, which came from uncertainty, gives way to the down-to-earth friendly attitude, and quiet self-confidence that goes with SCB’s true nature.
Above all: Unlike last year, SCB now has a real coach in August at Johan Lundskog (36). The historian was friendly and found good words for Don Nachbaur in August 2020. He didn’t want to believe the stories about his muddled work and intellect: SCB, great, powerful, doesn’t put a clown on the gang.
But Don Nashbor was a technical hockey clown. Friendly, cuddly, funny – but technically silly. Last season, and for a few weeks, the team temporarily became the world’s first circus artist group led by a clown.
New coach Johan Lundskog is no joker. Has there been such a drastic change in any gang like that from Don Nachbaur to Johan Lundskog? No.
The SCB is the Swede’s first position as a head coach. But he trained extensively as an assistant in Sweden, Canada, USA, and most recently for two years in Davos.
A lively young coach with a great future. A bit of a “nerd” like Arno del Corto, but not quite as extreme and without a penchant for the usual paranoia of hockey coaches. Tactical guru, but not a stencil freak like Kari Yalonen. Direct communication. The first Swedish general in the SCB gang is a coach who knows what he wants.
How does that affect the ice? The difference can be felt these days only in a return to normalization in the environment. In Berne, four coaches (Yalonen, Kossmann, Knatchbur and Kugler) have created a bubbly tactical tangle in the cabin over the past two years. Now, chances are good that Johan Lundskog will honor his two-year contract.
There are still no major changes on the ice compared to August 2020. A year ago, Kari Yalonen’s pre-eminent system was not yet completely resolved. And now Johann Lundskog has not yet succeeded in advancing his ideas. SCB is still in no man’s land between the old and new theatrical order.
The new trainer is striving for a more energetic and aggressive game that matches the SCB DNA anyway rather than a tactical stencil. The team no longer had enough talent to dominate the league tactically. The new coach has to develop a new tactical identity.
This should already work. The Swede says he has never seen players with such professional behavior as now in Bern. When the historian asked that he had worked in Sweden and more recently in Davos and the level of professionalism there was very high, he stuck to the statement. The players’ attitude to work (Berner Art – ed.) is a huge asset.
In two games in the Berner Cup in Langenthal this week, we’ve seen what to expect from SCB in the new season. In the semi-finals against SCL Langenthal (5:3) and in the final against SCL Tigers (5:3). As in the previous year, SCB won the championship.
The new SCB can already be seen in stages. Direct target pull, good firing, fast forward check and good system in your area. But in between players go back to the old habits of typical hockey, go passive and then the SCL Tigers and into the semifinals up to the upper waters of Langenthaler. In the end, it is enough to win both games, because SCB has more talents overall and a much better goalkeeper in the final.
In terms of sports, the SCB remains a stunning giant in the no-man’s-land between typical field hockey and active modern ice hockey. It will be some time before the transition to the new era is successful. But it will succeed and it would be fatal to underestimate the importance of the SCB.
And what about SCL tigers? After a season with “Rudolf Steiner Hockey” – every one of a kind, everyone’s talent being patiently and carefully promoted and everything without pressure or pressure on scores, performance and results – the Emmental residents are back in competitive sport. Jason O’Leary – someone like Chris McSorley – replaces the friendly Ricard Franzen. Residents of Langnau copy Embry: they try fast hockey: the target and the opponent are being chased. It is an attempt to make up for the talent shortage with energy and business running.
It will take some time for it to work. But it is already working in bright stages. Sometimes the SCB is bypassed. But when an opponent forms and repels, “black holes” in defense open up – to use a word from the language of space. The troubling question is: Will the Emmentaler have enough energy to pull off this amazing new hockey player like Ambri or Davos? And are your feet fast enough at all?
It is a good thing for Langnau that the sporty, capable driving of Mark Eichmann has moved well within its limited economic potential. If Langnau had run like SCB in the sports field last season, Emmentaler would have been reduced to the level of the MySports League in terms of sport.
In this way, there are striking similarities between SCL and SCB tigers. Both are on the right track. But both are still stuck in no man’s land between two hockey philosophies, between past and future, between era and regulations.
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