Andres Ambuhl Becomes First Swiss Player to Play in 5 Olympic Games

When you take a look down the Team Switzerland Olympic roster, the first thing that jumps out to you is that they are taking a lot of experience with them. Given the strange circumstances surrounding these games, that could be a real positive for the team.

Right at the top of the list when it comes to experience is forward Andres Ambuhl. The 38-year-old will take part in his fifth Olympic Games, an achievement that no other Swiss player has done before. Not only that, but few other players from around the world have done it, Ambuhl will become just the 12th player overall to compete at five events.

Team Switzerland has put together a very familiar team, with all players coming from the Swiss National League. To give an idea of just how long Ambuhl has been playing hockey, he started his Olympic career in Turin, back in 2006, and during those games, the current head coach Patrick Fischer was a player alongside him.

Ambuhl Will Hope to Improve His Points Production in Beijing

If there is one disappointing element of Ambuhl’s very impressive international resume then it is his lack of points at the Olympic Games. He’s played 14 times for Switzerland and scored just five points so far, all assists.

Andres Ambuhl
Andres Ambuhl (Fabien Perissinotto, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

With the lack of NHL players taking part this time around, the Swiss team is relying on players from their home league to step up and score points, and Ambuhl is one of those that will be asked to contribute. He would love to get on the scoresheet with a goal, and he has been finding the net on a regular basis in Switzerland this year with HC Davos, which will help.

Ambuhl has 27 points from 40 games in Switzerland this season, a little lower than we are used to seeing from him, but still a respectable total in one of the best leagues in Europe. Despite a little dip in points production, his goal-scoring remains at a similar level, his best season in recent years came last season when he scored 14, so far this season he has 11 from five less games.

Middle Six Role for Ambuhl

We are likely to see Ambuhl play a middle-six role for the Swiss at the games, though of course, lines are subject to shuffling based on performance, injuries and player availability. His days as a top-line force are gone, that role will likely fall to Denis Malgin, but despite being 38, there is still plenty to offer.

Don’t be surprised to see him play vital minutes and use his experience on the ice, despite this team being very experienced overall. That could mean key minutes towards the end of games, being put on the ice when Switzerland has a defensive zone faceoff and other times in which his experience will count for something.

Expectations for Team Switzerland

The Swiss kick off their Olympic campaign on Wednesday, Feb 9, with a game against Russia. This is followed by a game on Friday against the Czech Republic, and they round off their group with a game against Denmark on Saturday.

The men will have already seen the women’s team setup a quarter-final against Russia on Saturday. This comes despite a couple of heavy defeats, including an 8-0 defeat against the US.

As the games progress for the men, they should get a little easier on paper. However, Switzerland will be hoping that they can hit the ground running a little faster than Russia, which they take on in their first game. With a lot of experience on the roster, all players playing together in the Swiss National League and a coach that has been with the setup for a long time, don’t discount the possibility of an upset on the first day of action.

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