Skip To Main Content

Lights out in the BOSSARD Arena

The 2023-24 season came to an end for the EVZ Men’s Team in the National League on Monday evening with a 2-0 home defeat against the ZSC Lions. 

Shortly after 10 pm, the lights went out in the sold-out BOSSARD Arena. For the second time in a row in the playoff semi-finals. Twice, the team of the hour was the last stop: last year, the eventual champions Geneva-Servette were too strong (1:4), this time the ZSC Lions were one size too big (0:4).

As always, the disappointment at EVZ was huge after a premature end to the season, but it was kept within manageable limits. The chances of an eighth final appearance after 1995, 1997, 1998, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022 or even a fourth championship title after 1998, 2021 and 2022 were only theoretical this time. The ZSC Lions were too superior – in offense and defense, among the Swiss and the foreigners. With Simon Hrubec, who celebrated his third shutout of the season finale in Zug on Monday, the Zurich team also has the statistically best goalkeeper of the playoffs in its ranks. Even the equally outstanding seven-time champion Leonardo Genoni was powerless against Zurich’s concentrated superiority.

An tough season with many long-term and definitive losses of key players came to an end with the 15th home defeat in total. The Zug team probably made the most of the opportunities still available at the end of the season by finishing 4th in the qualifiers and only slightly jeopardizing direct playoff qualification at the end, as well as the well-deserved 4:3 against SC Bern in the playoff quarter-finals. It was still enough against the resurgent Bernese. The team from Zurich, which Dan Tangnes considers to be the best team in the league, had a wider line-up, were faster, stronger in terms of play and duels and, above all, more self-confident than the EVZ. The nine defeats in the last ten qualifying games have left their mark on the three-time Swiss champions.


Against the superior regular-season winners, Zug only managed four goals in four games, three of which were scored by the two Swedish defensemen Niklas Hansson and Lukas Bengtsson. That’s definitely not enough, especially since there was little or nothing to see from various designated top performers in the playoff semi-final. Captain Jan Kovar, who was still the league’s most valuable player in the 2021 and 2022 championship years, didn’t get back to his usual speed after his injury.


This time, the “MVP” award went to the fans, who stood behind their team like one man until the final buzzer. With 119 points after 52 games in the regular season and a 27-point lead over second-placed Lugano in the 2020/21 season, the eternal record is still in Zug’s hands.

Reto Suri received the biggest round of applause after the final buzzer. After 17 seasons and 850 games with 438 scoring points in the top league, the Zug identification figure – 2013 World Championship silver medallist, 2019 Cup winner and 2022 champion with the EVZ – saw his active career come to an end. Fans will probably see their favorite in a different role again. “The decision was already made before this season – based on the signals from my body. The joy of ice hockey is still there,” summed up a distraught Suri after his last appearance in the BOSSARD Arena, where he was one of the defining figures on the ice and in the dressing room for many years.


Monday was also a farewell for Luca Hollenstein, Nico Gross (both Davos), Arno Nussbaumer, Louis Robin (both Ajoie) and Dario Allenspach (SCL Tigers). Andreas Eder (back to Munich) and Ian Derungs (back to Biel) will also leave the EVZ. Defenseman Rémi Vogel (most recently on loan at La Chaux-de-Fonds) will end his career at the young age of 22. The contracts of assistant coach Todd Woodcroft and forwards Brian O’Neill and Riley Sheen will expire. So far, the additions of goalkeeper Tim Wolf (Ajoie) as well as forwards Mike Künzle (Biel) and Colin Lindemann (Leksands IF) are officially known.

General sponsor
Zuger Kantonalbank
Main sponsors
Binelli Group