Swiss Hockey Update: Bern, Ambrì, Lugano, Zug, Biel

This week the Swiss National League has some new faces. There was the first game of Andrew MacDonald in Bern, the practice opportunity for Paul Postma with Lugano and that Tomas Kubalik is with Ambrì.  

MacDonald played his first game for Bern in the Tissot Arena in Biel. Some would consider this a cold start. After the first minute, he visited the penalty bench and Biel got the lead. Bern tied the game thanks to a great goal from Mark Arcobello. But again it was MacDonald who found himself in the penalty box. And again Biel took the lead back. Bern responded once more. But, with a lot of luck, Biel won the game with a great goal from Tony Raiala 17 seconds before the end of regulation.  

Former New York Islander Andrew MacDonald is now playing for SC Bern (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The next day, MacDonald left the game with a minus-two plus/minus rating and 20:26 ice time. He got some penalty killing time and had four blocked shots. If Bern gives him enough ice time he would definitely be a better import than Mikka Koivisto. The Finnish defender seems to not be a good fit for Bern.

Ryan Spooner Had to Go

In Lugano, former NHL player Ryan Spooner had to go. He never had a real chance to get to show his potential. Too often he was sitting in the press box and was a healthy scratch. He got informed by general manager Hnat Dominichelli that he could leave the team if he found a new team. That said, his agent looked around and found Dinamo Minsk in the KHL. Spooner had only two games with Lugano with one assist.

Ryan Spooner Rangers
Ryan Spooner plays now in the KHL for Dynamo Minsk (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In Ambrì, Thomas Kubalik arrived to get back in shape. The Bianco-Blu didn’t offer him a contract yet. The older brother of current Chicago Blackhawk, Dominik, Thomas will have to show that he deserves a place in the team.

Luca Hollenstein Extends with Zug

In Zug, GM Reto Kläy is working already on contract extensions. They signed backup goalie Luca Hollenstein to a two-year extension. That contract was signed to get him more time to develop himself behind Leonardo Genoni and to be the next number one keeper. Also, the team was interested at Calle Anderson but did not offer him a contract. The Swedish-Swiss dual citizen is free agent after this season. Bern is trying to hold him in the nation’s capital, but at the moment he is testing the market. With the ZSC Lions, HC Lugano and Lausanne HC, there are three more teams interested in his services.

Also, Thomas Ruefenacht, who is currently playing with Bern, has an expiring contract. As the player tells the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung,” he would like to stay in Bern. The only thing that he is looking forward to is a long-term contract. If the 34-year-old Swiss-American will receive such an offer from Bern is more than questionable. But, as he points out, Kari Jalonen is staying with Bern for one more season and he has something more to prove.

Most interesting will be the future of now backup goalie Ludovic Waeber in Fribourg. The situation in Fribourg for Waeber is not suitable for him. He is behind goalie Reto Berra and has few chances to get a start.

Former Calgary Flames Goaltender Reto Berra is clearly the number one goalie for Fribourg. Lucdovic Waeber is therefore looking for a new club. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

As GM Martin Steineger of the EHC Biel states, the chances are that they will offer him a contract. But before that, Steinegger and coach Annti Tömänen have to decide if they will go with an import goalkeeper or go with two young goalies into the next season. If they would decide on the latter they need to find the second goalie soon. At the moment there are some rumors that it could be their current backup Ellen Paupe.