If you are a fan of ice hockey (as I am), you may have lived two amazing weeks watching and following the Swiss national team. Not being ranked in the top 8 of ice hockey nations, qualifying itself to quarter final would have already been considered as a success. But that was before… before the tournament which happened in Sweden. Which was magic!
Switzerland won every game, beating top ice hockey nations like Sweden, Canada and Czech Republic (twice, with quarto final). And then, USA in semi-final. Unfortunately, Switzerland lost the final against the host country, Sweden (BTW: congratulations to the Swedish team).
It’s an authentic exploit for Switzerland and will remain in mind of everyone during years… or not. Because what we have been able to observe is a deep mentality change. Some years ago, everyone would have been more than happy with a quarter final. This year, everyone is disappointed not having won the gold medal! These guys are hungry, extremely hungry. And they will probably surprise us often in the future. This impression was well illustrated by Reto Suri, a few minutes after the end of the game:
We don’t know if we have lost the gold medal or if we have won the silber one.
This Playstation generation now doesn’t only ambition to be a well-paid professional player in Switzerland. They want to shoot the stars (that means, in ice hockey, play in NHL) and don’t take “easy” money: players now refuse lucrative offers from Swiss clubs to seize the opportunity to play among the bests. With no guarantee to even play a few games in NHL. Ambitious. You named it!
What has surprised many observers is that even without some of the best Swiss ice hockey players (because they were still involved with their NHL club in playoffs), Switzerland played a world class hockey. Sean Simpson, the trainer of Switzerland, deserves a big credit for the journey of the team. He has been able to build a rockstar team. It was amazing to see so much solidarity among players. Everyone put his ego aside and provided his maximum in benefit of the team. And its ambitious goal. They believed in their capacities and were empowered by the certainty that everything is possible.
This exploit will probably inspire lots of young ice hockey players, and other sportsmen/-women. And also every Swiss citizen! It’s also inspiring for every entrepreneur. Stereotype is that startup founders in Switzerland often have to little global ambition. What is completely wrong, or at least, has totally changed in the last decade. Swiss startups are not the best funded startups (Swiss players are not the best paid players), but it doesn’t mean they can’t succeed. Money helps, but… realizing that if you believe in you and work hard, everything is possible… with a bit of luck! But you also need to put yourself in a position to provoke luck… and once you’ve gained momentum, you’re kind of unstoppable… or only on the last step!