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Attending a NLA Game

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10-03-2012, 08:09 AM
cest la vie
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Attending a NLA Game

Hello all, I'm a Canadian who is living in the Netherlands right now as part of a school exchange, and I've decided that I really would like to attend an NLA game. Seeing as it will be my first time in Switzerland, I'm hoping to make it both a cultural and hockey weekend trip, as there are some people who will be coming to the city with me but will not be watching the hockey game.

My question would be, which city would provide the best mixture of hockey, culture, and beauty (it would be swell if the city was located somewhere near the Alps). My first thought was Davos, seeing as not only are Rick Nash and Joe Thornton playing on Davos, but it's also a beautiful city located in the mountains. However, I'm afraid the travel to reach Davos might be difficult/costly, and there might not be enough things to do for my friends.

As a student, I'm limited with expenditure, so ease of travel if probably a large factor. Thanks for your input in advance.

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10-03-2012, 02:15 PM
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Hey there,
i would go to Bern, beautiful city, you can see the alps and reach them easily by train. You have 4 teams in the region. (Bern, Biel, Langnau, Fribourg) Normally you have a game on friday and one on saturday per team. So you could watch one game in Bern and one in the other Cities i posted above. I live in Biel, all of them are easy to reach by train (30 minutes by train or car).

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10-03-2012, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Belenos View Post
Hey there,
i would go to Bern, beautiful city, you can see the alps and reach them easily by train. You have 4 teams in the region. (Bern, Biel, Langnau, Fribourg) Normally you have a game on friday and one on saturday per team. So you could watch one game in Bern and one in the other Cities i posted above. I live in Biel, all of them are easy to reach by train (30 minutes by train or car).
Bern's old town is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, SC Bern has the biggest crowd outside of the NHL (They average more than 15'000 so far in this season) with a huge stand (And with huge I REALLY mean huge) and a beautiful landscape. And as Belenos said, you have other teams (SCL Tigers, Fribourg-Gottéron, EHC Biel/Bienne) and towns nearby. So you are in Zurich within an hour.

If you guys speak french, you could either go to Geneva, Bienne (Not 100% sure how many people in Bienne still speak french, Belenos could tell you more, I guess) or Fribourg, where french is generally spoken. Geneva is a great place to be, very cosmopolitan and has a good team, that is dominating the league right now (nobody truly knows why, but whatever ).
In case of Bienne, it's a beautiful, small town. Not that much to do, but you are close to Bern. Their team is pretty "meh" for me, but their fans are great.
Fribourg has some of the most amazing fans in Switzerland, is close to Lausanne and Bern for other activities, is a beautiful place by itself and has a "ok" team. But they didn't sign any NHL-players so far.

Davos... I don't know. For me (as a fan), Davos is one of the most beautiful places in the world. They have one of the most beautiful hockey arenas in the world (there is a reason it's sometimes called "The Hockey Cathedral" in the swiss media), the team is competitive and plays an exciting run&gun-style of hockey (Even though they are in some kind of a crisis right now). Too bad that beautiful stadium is half empty during the games...
Davos is literally at the end of the world. So travelling will be a pain. There is not that much to do outside of hockey and skiing (in winter). And it's pretty expensive.

Something you might consider would be the teams in the italian-speaking part of Switzerland, Ambri-Piotta and Lugano. Expecially Ambri is a very special case for swiss ice hockey. Or have you ever heard of a team located in two villages of 500 citizens each, that averages around 4000 spectators per game? Outside of Canada? Their fanbase is incredible, so it's always a pleasure to visit them. But the problem with Ambri-Piotta is the same as with Davos: The location.
Lugano is a beautiful town, especially during summer. Their team is good, too.
These two teams kinda represent the opposite case of a very rich and (normally) successful team (Lugano) and a poor franchise from the countryside, that is helt alive by it's tradition and fans (Ambri-Piotta).

Zurich may be an option, too. It would probably the best option for your friends, since the nightlife in Zurich is by far the most active in Switzerland and there are many places for sightseeing like the swiss national museum. The ZSC Lions, as the current NLA-Champions, are very competitive, even though they didn't hire any NHL-players. And in Zurich, you are in the "heart" of Switzerland, where basically the whole travelling system starts and ends at the Zurich main station.
Furthermore, there is a second team in the greater Zurich area, the Kloten Flyers. Their team may be rather cheap (they nearly had to blow up their team because of their debts), but they play an exciting, spectacular style, since most of their players are still very young.

Last edited by TheNeutrality: 10-03-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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10-03-2012, 06:11 PM
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Head for Bern because it's the land of :


and because it's a pleasant city, cool people, interesting buildings ... almost atypical for a city.
It also is the capital ... of HOCKEY.

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10-04-2012, 03:54 AM
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Is this the "hype the place where my favorite team play" thread? Try to be helpful, no need to try to bring the guy near your place.

Anyway, I'll try a team by team breakdown (I wouldn't worry about getting anywhere in Switzerland by public transport, the network is pretty extensive, although that comes with expensive prices, especially if you want to join some remote place in the Alps):

Geneva: The succesful team so far this season (still undefeated). Plays a dump and chase kind of hockey without much creativity, but lots of physical play. The arena is awful with poor sightlines and seats far away from the ice, but the fans create a pretty good atmosphere. Not much to see in the city from a tourist point of view, althought there are some nice places in nearby France (Not sure how to get there with public transport). Flights to Geneva from Amsterdam can be very cheap, but the city is expensive.

Zurich: The team is good, but they play in a multipurpose arena that wasn't made for hockey where you seat far away from the ice and a poor atmosphere. Regarding the place, it's a lively city (Probably the place to stay if you care about the nightlife) and a short ride away from many other teams and from Lucerne and its lake, one of the best tourist area of the country. Worth noting that the city is very expensive.

Fribourg: They have good forwards and a suspicious defense, maybe a good bet if you like high scoring games. The arena is old and outdated, but the sightlines and atmosphere are great. The town is nice but quickly visited, probably better to stay in Bern if you attend a game there.

Rapperswil: Surprisingly good team so far, but neither the hockey experience nor the town are anything special. Short trip from Zurich so that could be a possibility to view an extra game if you stay in the Zurich area, but I wouldn't stay there.

Lugano: Good team, though a bit unspectacular. The arena has great sightlines and the fans are very noisy. The city is located in an amazing natural setting at the foot of the alps. It's close from Milan, so you can have a look on flights to Malpensa if getting into Zurich is too expensive.

Biel: Team that relies on a good goalie and mistake free defensive hockey, so not the most spectacular place for a neutral fan. I'm not familiar with the city, so no comment on it.

Kloten: Interesting teams with fast paced hockey and always a lot of young players. The arena is modern and a good place to watch a game. Kloten is a suburb of Zurich where the city's airport is located, but it's a residential area. If you go there, I would stay in the Zurich city center and travel there just for the game.

Bern: One of the best teams, despite their so-so season start. The arena is one of a kind with a huge standing section, although it's too big to have a good atmosphere. The city center is beautiful and it's a short train ride away from the Interlaken area, one of the best tourist spot in Switzerland.

Davos: Like Bern, great team with a poor season start. They play an enjoyable brand of hockey based on a fast transition game. The arena is also one of a kind, with a beautiful wooden architecture, although you won't get the best sightlines there. It's located high in the mountains, so great tourist experience and many things to do during the day, but not the best place if the nightlife is important to you.

Zug: Another team which season start is below expectations. They have the most modern arena (opened last season). I'm not familiar with the place, I can only point out that it's a small town but is a short train ride away from both Zurich and Lucerne.

Langnau: Usual bottom feeder, they've only played away games so far because constructions works are going on in their arena, not sure when it'll be ready. Langnau is a very small countryside town where there isn't much going on apart from hockey, but going there could be a unique cultural experience. A short trip away from Bern, so consider it if you decide to stay in Bern.

Ambrì: They have been the worst team in the league during the last two or three seasons, and their arena is awfully old, but that's the most unique pro hockey team you can imagine: the team plays in a small village located high in a valley, in an open arena invaded by the cold mountain wind during games and passionate fans. Of course, there's nothing to do up there unless you are crazy about mountain hiking.

and finally, if you don't mind a lower level of hockey, there's an NLB team that could be interesting:

Lausanne: They have been trying to get promoted for years but can't get the job done. They have good attendances (they outdraw some NLA teams) and a very good atmosphere. Also, the city has a great nightlife and is cheaper than Zurich and Geneva. A short ride away from Montreux and its great natural setting.

All and all, if you stay just a weekend, I would decide according to what's more important to you:

If you want a unique hockey experience but not much more to do, Ambrì or Langnau.

If you want to enjoy a noisy atmosphere and crazy fans, Ambrì, Lugano, Lausanne or Fribourg.

If you want a unique hockey arena, Bern or Davos.

If you want a good nightlife to party with your friends, Zurich or Lausanne.

If you want a place located in a beautiful natural setting, Davos or Lugano.

If you want a city with a beautiful old town, Bern.

If you want to be close from some of the best tourist destinations, Zurich (go to Lucerne and the area around its lake) or Bern (go the Bernese highlands around Interlaken).

If you want to have many hockey teams to chose from, go to Zurich (Zurich, Kloten, Zug, Rapperswil), or maybe Bern (Bern, Langnau, Biel, Fribourg).

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10-04-2012, 06:46 AM
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you may know what your friends want to do in switzerland? if we would know that, we could give you better proposals.
a lot of swiss tourist want to do some sport (skiing, hiking, biking ect.), see the matterhorn or jungfraujoch, visit a chocolate factory, cheeese factory, the olympic museum or mountain fortress.
man, I see all day long how many asian tourist come to my cow town just to see "Heidiland"

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10-04-2012, 09:41 AM
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I'll go with Bern for a few reasons.
If i remember correctly, there are flights to Netherlands from Bern (In Zurich, Geneva and Basel i'm sure there are more than one flight a day).
The city center is really nice place to go and a must to see. Walking near the Aar is also very nice.
It'll be cheapest than Zurich, Davos and Geneva.
If you and your friends like partying you can go on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night in Lausanne by train (1-hour train I guess), partying all night and coming back in the morning (5-6 AM).
Even if they aren't very good for now, they have a really good team playing good hockey and they have 3 really goods NHLers (Streit, Josi and Tavares).
If you stay on Friday and Saturday you can go once in the PostFinance Arena in Bern and once in Langnau, Biel or Fribourg which aren't far (half hour in train I guess) to see a different arena and team.
You said you want an "alpine" city. In Bern, with a good weather, you can see the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau, 3 of the most known mountains of Switzerland (after the Mattenhorn) and you can go on this mountains by train (the Jungfraujoch). If you like skiing this is also the place where Wengen is found.

The things I personnaly don't like in Bern are the SC Bern (the team...) and the PostFinanceArena (That's not the type of Arena I like, too big for me and I prefer to watch a game seaten than standing). But I would still recommend you to go there.

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10-04-2012, 10:02 AM
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I'd also head to Bern. The city is really nice, they do have probably the biggest (revenue, attendance etc.) hockey team in Europe and their arena is quite special, but still modern. You'll almost only get standing room tickets, because all seats are sold to season card holders. Tickets aren't really expensive, they cost you about $20.

Plus, as the others already stated, the mountains are nearby. Head to Interlaken (30min per train) to get in to the alps.

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10-05-2012, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TheNeutrality View Post
If you guys speak french, you could either go to Geneva, Bienne (Not 100% sure how many people in Bienne still speak french, Belenos could tell you more, I guess) or Fribourg, where french is generally spoken.
In Biel/Bienne around 60% speak german, 30% french and 10% other languages. Biel is a very underestimated city. It's surrounded by a lake and the first hills of the Jura mountains.

You have a real old town, not like the one in Bern which is only real in most eastern parts. (the rest are shops and have nothing to do with its history on the inside of the houses.

And you could visit the shores of Lake Biel. Beautiful in autumn:

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10-05-2012, 08:21 AM
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I'd recommend you Bern, or Zurich, as there would be plenty of stuff do see/do for your friends and you have quite the choice regarding hockey games. Our train system is pretty good and the these two places are kind of the main hubs in it, so it wont be a big deal for your friends to take a one day trip somewhere and come back in the evening so you can go out after the game with them or smth.

As others said, around Bern there would be the SC Bern itself, Fribourg, Biel and Langnau in around 30min, Geneva in 2h. And from Zurich you can easily visit the ZSC, Kloten Flyers, Zug and Rapperswil also in about 30min.
That said, i dont know too much about Bern, but Zurich has probably the most active nightlife, while the alps are more within reach from Bern (Zermatt in about 2h by train for instance).

As the weather is pretty bad sometimes in autumn north of the alps, the third possibility to recommend would be Lugano. Close to Milano (like 2h from the airport by train), great landscape and the higher possibility of good weather. You can visit Lugano itself and Ambri-Piotta, altough you might have to plan your visit there (incase they both wont play at home at that weekend). Incase you go there, i'd recommend a weekend with a derby between these two clubs, one of the best atmosphere's you can find in hockey.

Davos is meh.. Incase you and your friends like hiking it might be a good choice but other than that there's not that much to do.

If you like another city, go there ofc, but with these three mentioned you can't really "miss" it, as you've got everything in reach.

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