The reform of foreigners divides Swiss ice hockey. At the top of the power struggle are League President Denis Vaucher and the President of the players’ union Jonas Hiller.
- Nils Hänggi
- Erik Hasselberg
The increase in the quota of foreigners in Swiss ice hockey from four to seven players from the coming season seems a done deal.
National Club players protested the reform over the weekend.
The former stated that the union was not involved in the decision.
Vaucher, however, rejects the criticism.
“I’m disappointed.” That says league president Denis Vaucher compared to 20 minutes. “I am disappointed that the league was not informed about the action in advance.” He knew it was taking place, but not officially. “I found out about it from the Latrinenweg,” says Vaucher.
What is the league director talking about? Well – about the protest of the National League players over the weekend against the planned increase in foreigners. All teams in the five National League games retired to the bench after the first face-off and rolled out a banner. It read: “Our youngsters are our future, the fans are our backbone and ice hockey is our life.”
The protest was about the planned league reform, whereby in the future seven instead of four foreigners may be placed in the team. This is even criticized by NHL star Roman Josi.
Vaucher rejects allegations
Although: Vaucher does not agree that it was a protest. He says: “For me it was more of a commitment to Swiss ice hockey. That is exactly how we see that the next generation is our future, our fans are our backbone and ice hockey is our passion. ” So everything is fine after all? Not quite.
The league director criticizes the Swiss Ice Hockey Players’ Union (SIHPU), which initiated the protest. For example, he rejects the accusation that there was no contact between the SIHPU and the league.
“I’ve said it several times and I’ll do it again: I have spoken several times with Jonas Hiller, the president of the players’ union.” Vaucher tells of talks in September, November, January and February.
The players’ union also commented in writing. Vaucher continues: “Another conference call is planned for the beginning of March.”
The fact is: the union is against increasing the number of foreigners. However, she agrees with other points. ” You have a mutual dialogue – “I just had a long conversation with a board member of the SIHPU,” says Vaucher.
Hiller remains: no involvement
Ex-NHL star Hiller does not deny that there were talks compared to 20 minutes. Nevertheless, the SIHPU president is annoyed: “I was very angry when I heard about Vaucher’s statements.” And by that means the lack of involvement in the decision-making process. He was able to present the SIHPU at a meeting of the National League in September and talk about the concerns of the same. However, the newly founded National League AG could not yet say where and how to involve the players’ union. And on the written statement of the league reform, which would have been submitted in November, he only received verbal feedback in January.
But Hiller’s criticism goes even further: «Denis told me in January that at the end of the month only the shareholders’ agreement should be decided. On January 29th, I and all the players learned about the decision to reform foreigners from the media. And I even had to ask what the regulation looks like in detail, what differentiations there are. “
Instead of a mud fight: keep looking for dialogue
It sounds as if the SIHPU is at least just a consultative body in Vaucher’s eyes. “If the league wants something from us, then they come up to us, but the other way round we are not really taken seriously. We shake hands, tried to approach them, but nothing comes back, you are always put off, ”said the former goalie of the Swiss national team.
Even if Hiller and Vaucher don’t have the hay on the same stage, the former still wants to seek dialogue. “I don’t want a mud fight in the media about hockey, it hurts myself to always read the ‘bad’ news.” Also, in order not to go on a course of confrontation with the league, it was decided not to make the banner slogan too aggressive. “It was just about setting an example, because many players felt ripped off.” According to Hiller, the action is at least not planned any further. Does he already feel the willingness to enter into dialogue? «So far there has been no concrete signal from the league. However, only two days have passed. We hope that we will find solutions in an internal dialogue with the league. ”
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protest players Foreigner Zoff Jonas Hiller annoyed League President Denis Vaucher