The World Indoor Lacrosse Championship 2015 takes over the Onondaga Nation next month and in preparation for the historic event we will be taking a deeper look into each of the 13 nations that will be competing for the gold September 18th-27th, 2015!
With a few years of international field lacrosse experience under their belts, the group from Switzerland are fired up to travel to North America in September for the WILC 2015!
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Preparations for the WILC 2015
What are some of your biggest concerns when traveling with the Swiss team to the United States and the Onondaga Nation?
None of us really know what to expect of the area. When many of us think of traveling to North America, we don’t typically think of going to Syracuse, NY, or the Onondaga Nation, but for lacrosse players and enthusiasts, we are excited to experience the game in its heartland and from the Haudenosaunee people as a whole.
What other obstacles are still in the way of Switzerland having the ideal trip to the WILC?
It’s expensive for our players, and all of the other European teams, to travel to North America. We have a small community of dedicated lacrosse players in Switzerland, many of the players that made the trip to Denver last year for the World Games are the same playing in the WILC 2015.
These guys have to spend all of their vacation time and earnings on travel and expenses for lacrosse, year after year. We’ve lost some really good players due to this.
Switzerland Lacrosse History
When was lacrosse founded in Switzerland and by whom?
Swiss Lacrosse was founded in 2006 by four individuals; Fredrik Frostbach (St. Gallen Sunnyboys), Seb Ulbrich (Zürich Lions), André Blaser (Bern Titans) and Emanuel Moser (orig. Zürich, now Wettingen Wild).
When the group started almost 10 years ago, it was those four clubs.
How long has box lacrosse been played in Switzerland?
Indoor lacrosse has existed here for a while, but it was mostly played in a gym. The Bärencup event has been in existence since around 2010-11.
Real box lacrosse started here in 2013 in Kaltbrunn, Switzerland in which the league winner takes home the Kaltbrunn Cup. Zurich won in 2013 and Olten won in 2014.
What other events has Switzerland competed in internationally?
- European Championships 2008 in Lathi, Finland – 16th
- World Championships 2010 in Manchester, England – 23rd
- European Championships 2012 in Amsterdam, Netherlands 11th
- World Championships 2014 in Denver, USA – 15th
- European Box Invitational 2015 in Radotin, Czech Republic – 2-1 Record
2015 Players and Staff
In general, how would you describe the players on the Swiss national team? What are the guys like off the field?
We have an extremely dedicated group of men who work hard on their own time to stay fit and keep their sticks sharp. They are fast, tough and creative players. Off the field, their is a lot of positive chemistry.
Which key individuals from your country should lacrosse enthusiasts look toward as an ambassador of the game? Why?
The first name that comes to mind is Lukas Heri. Though most of the players have contributed to growing the sport in their areas, Lukas has committed to growing youth lacrosse throughout the country and has already started by opening a lacrosse club in Solothurn, Switzerland!
Another new member to the National Team is Matthias Annaheim. Matthias will run you down, run over you, suck up GB’s and get down the floor faster than most. He will work hard each shift and is completely unconcerned with referee’s decisions or talking trash. He’s just happy to be out there playing the game we all love.
Who are the team’s most experienced players for the WILC?
Offense: Rolf Hirt competed with Switzerland at the 2010 World Games in Manchester and 2014 Denver. Rolf is a staple of the Bern Titans club.
Transition: Ian Schoch also was a member of the Swiss team both the 2010 and 2014 field team. Schoch competes with the St. Gallen Sunnyboys.
Defense: Michael Haller has competed with the Swiss four times now and is a member of the Wettingen Wild club. Michael is a big body on defense that will be a force to reckon with.
Goalie: Alex Meier stands tall in cage for Chur when not with the Swiss team. He had a strong showing at April’s European Box Invitational.
Who is your coaching staff, what is their experience?
Head coach Scott Hylen was born and raised in the San Fransisco area before playing and coaching at UC Santa Clara. Scott coached various high school lacrosse programs in California before taking the position with Switzerland.
Brent Nowicki was a former Fairfield lacrosse star from Upstate New York that followed his career with the Legal Counsel for the Court of Arbitration for Sportto Switzerland. Brent will serve as the co-Head Coach.
Defensive Specialist Andre Blaser is a Swiss homegrown product that has put his stick away to pursue coaching.
What is the team’s ratio of Swiss to North American born players?
We have a couple of players who spent most of their lives in the US, but currently live in Switzerland and contribute to Swiss Lacrosse, either as a player or a coach. We have another player who was born in Germany but has lived in Basel and managed the club there for years. The rest are all Swiss grown.
Is there anything else you would like the worldwide lacrosse community to know about Switzerland or the team?
We are always willing to learn from good competition!
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Thanks to Switzerland Coach and Organizer Scott Hylen for taking the time for this interview.