|Hockey Club Lugano|
|Colors||Black, white and yellow|
|League||National League A|
|Head Coach||John Slettvoll|
Officially founded on 11 February 1941, it celebrated its sixtieth year of life in the 2000/2001 season (the team played a regular season game with a vintage jersey).
Apart from the result of its first team, which obviously serves as a leading vehicle, the Hockey Club Lugano constitutes a significant reality in the region to the south of the Monte Ceneri and is deeply rooted in the fabric of Lugano, Canton Ticino and Switzerland.
As such, the social function performed by the Youth Section of the Hockey Club Lugano in particular is recognised and appreciated. Today the Youth Section counts more than three hundred registrations in the various age categories and seven professional coaches.
The enthusiasm and popular passion that the black-and-white colours can provoke were obvious to all the eyes watching the celebrations at the "Resega" ice rink and in "Piazza della Riforma" – the heart of the people of Lugano – during the month of April 1999, when more than eight thousand people triumphantly welcomed the heroes of the 1998/1999 championship conquered at the "Valascia" ice rink in Ambrì.
During the season, the Hockey Club Lugano registers an average of nearly 5500 spectators who watch the games, play-offs included. The memberships at the "Resega" are more than 3000.
On the HC Lugano "big family" there are the Youth Sections, the Ladies Team and the HC Lugano-Ceresio. The Partner Team is EHC Basel, that competes on the National League B.
The last-named is elected president, also because, being a player in the Football Club Lugano, he can guarantee the jerseys for the team. Seven years after its foundation, the team abandons the small lake of Muzzano and goes to the Loreto quarter. This change is certainly beneficial and is a good opportunity to make the hockey game gradually known in the neighbourhood.
In Loreto, the first real games of puck on ice are played, with the appearance of those who will become world champions: the Canadians of Mercury. The game of hockey starts getting a footing; however, the civic authorities keep considering Lugano as, basically, a football city.
All the efforts of the president-of-presidents Luigi Bellasi come to nothing. In fact, the lack of political support causes the club's eviction from Loreto, too.
This was possible thanks to two great promoters of the black-and-white family: Cuccio Viglezio and Guido Keller. Still in the course of 1955, Albino Mangili sets up the sport facility in Noranco. And it's in Noranco itself that the black-and-white Club achieves its first real purchase: Beat Rüedi, from Canton Graubünden.
With Rüedi comes the first real example to follow: apart from playing and training, Rüedi moves skillfully in all fields in order to realise what was considered a real dream in Lugano: the artificial rink. In the three years passed in Noranco, the Lugano club contends its first official championships and celebrates its first promotion to first division in 1956.
The president is still Luigi Bellasi, and the omnipresent Cuccio Viglezio and Antonio Bariffi become part of the committee; the last-named is a player already and will subsequently become the first Ticinese to hold the position of president in the National League. The Lugano club also finds its first Canadian purchase during its last season in Noranco: Bob Mitchell, a defender taken from the Milan Devils and who will give the Lugano club those new shots called slapshots.
The first artificial rink, which will be called "Resega", is inaugurated on 1 December 1957.
That day, among the present, there was the guy who – thirty years later – would take the Lugano club to the height of Swiss and international hockey: Geo Mantegazza. An engineer by profession, he has his first contacts with the black-and-white family by doing the Resega's static calculations. The most important engagement experienced during the first years of the Resega was the then Pedrolini Cup, name taken from the family that then owned the facility and that gives hospitality to the strongest European teams, such as the Stockholm club, the Wembley Lions, the Paris club and the Milan Devils.
The Resega's inaugural season coincides with the first professional wearing the black-and-white jersey:
Gene Miller, followed by the acrobatic Chinese-Canadian Larry Kwong. At the end of the fifties, the Lugano club also sees a Swiss lad called Gérald Rigolet for a short spell; subsequently, with the Villars and the Chaux de Fonds teams, he will reveal himself one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Swiss hockey. In the 1963/1964 season, the HCL will finally achieve the coveted promotion to National League B, thanks to a sensational recruitment drive with the signing-on of the defender Elwyn Friedrich and the winger Roland Bernasconi, both of them internationals and Swiss champions with the Villars club. During that season a great talent shows up on the Resega's ice and makes history: Alfio Molina.
And it's precisely the fifteen-year-old Alfio Molina who will drag the black-and-white team towards Series B, which will be conquered on 29 February 1964 in Rapperswil's ice rink. And the fans of the Ambrì team get a great shock when the Lugano club beats its rivals in the Swiss Cup: the game becomes decisive during extra time, when Moretti finally shoots a goal. But in the championships, the revenge of the Ambrì team is terrible: 13 to 2. And to this day, this remains the clearest performance in the derbies' long history. Here are some of the names of the players who marked the first years in the history of the black-and-whites at the Resega: Friedrich, Faoro, Moretti, Stephani, Hochstrasser, Mazzola, Brambilla, Molina, Rezzonico, Corti, Giudici, Bernardoni. And three guys from the Leventina Valley are also introduced in the various formations of those years: Silvio Baldi, Ennio and Danny Tenconi.
Molina's reserve is Roger Corpataux. The black-and-whites celebrate their promotion to National League A in the 1970/1971 season, with the purchases of Arturo Baldi from the Ambrì club, of Marzio Agustoni, a guy from Bellinzona who stepped into the limelight with the Grasshoppers team, of Bernard Côté and of the Czech Karel Blazek, the protagonist of a real spurt in Switzerland during a tournament in Lugano.
The season's key encounter is Lugano-Lausanne, contended at the Resega in front of 6000 spectators and won by the black-and-whites 3 to 1.
The team includes eight players of the breeding ground: Molina, Corti, Rezzonico, Giudici, Brambilla, Bernardoni, Bernasconi and Cereghetti. So thirty years after its foundation, the team finally sees its dream come true! Second only to Canton Valais, Canton Ticino has two clubs in the highest category. Molina crowns his extraordinary career when, at the world championships in Prague, he proves the second best goalkeeper absolutely. Unfortunately, the adventure of the black-and-whites in National League A only lasts two seasons; in fact, in the 72/73 season, it will be relegated to the National League B.
So the Lugano club prepares itself to pass nine years in the lower division, among wavering results, even though some of the players kindle the Resega in the seventies, such as the Finns Juha Pekka Rantasila and Henry Leppä and the American Tom Vanelli.
In 1975 the black-and-white club packs its suitcases and moves to Lugano's first covered ice rink: the one in Mezzovico.
The black-and-whites will play two championships here, the time necessary to cover the Resega completely.
In 1978, the guy who will become a great figure in only a few years' time enters the history of the Lugano club and of Swiss hockey: Geo Mantegazza. And what will often be the seventh player on ice takes shape with him: the North End.
The new managing staff, formed by Geo Mantegazza, Severo Antonini and Fausto Senni immediately conquers two historical results: for the first time, the Lugano club has a ranking in front of the Ambrì club and for the first time, on 23 October 1979, the Valascia is conquered (5-2).
The extra guy on this occasion is Jim Koleff, who will become the North End's idol.
In 1980 two great names dock on Lake Ceresio's shores. In fact, they are Mark Pavelich and John Harrington, fresh with the extraordinary gold medal conquered with the American national team at the Olympics in Lake Placid.
But they disappoint both the fans and the team and remain in Lugano for a championship only. Pavelich will then move to the New York Rangers and result one of the best.
However, it's in these years that the Resega sees one of its most crowded championships, with an average registration of nearly 8'000 spectators per game!
Therefore, in the 1981/1982 season, the Lugano club decides to invest a lot in the recruitment drive, and treats itself with eight new players.
Among all of them, the name of the captain of the Swiss National team stands out: Aldo Zenhäusern. The foreigners are Réal Vincent and Bernard Gagnon.
Two other important arrivals are Claude Domeniconi, a stern defender who will give a lot to the club in the years to come, and Bruno Rogger, one of America's first Swiss.
But the team doesn't really work out as expected and the coach-player Vincent decides to dedicate himself solely to the role of coach, abandoning the role of defender: he places Rogger in his place, until then a forward, and engages a new foreigner in the attack: Bob Sirois.
This move proves winning and, together with the cousins from the Leventina Valley, the Lugano club returns to the National League A after an exhilarating and promotional heat, and is also triumphant on glamorous ice rinks such as the Allmend in Berne and the Hallenstadion in Zurich. For the adventure in Series A, the Lugano club engages an American defender, Bob Hess, with more than 300 games in the NHL and the ability of inflaming the fans with his spectacular, but not always successful, traverses of the rink. The black-and-white team is also strengthened by other experienced players: Giovanni Conte, Daniel Blaser and Jean-Claude Courvosier.
But the greatest promise for Swiss hockey is the following purchase: Jörg Eberle from Canton Appenzell. However, with the sixth final place, the championship of the black-and-whites isn't really memorable. At the end of the season, an author of the scaling of the black-and-white team in National League A finally and definitely gives up ice skating: Alfio Molina.
On the other hand, Eberle leaves the Lugano club and moves to Davos. In order to give a turning point to the whole environment, the president Mantegazza gives way to a real technical revolution and calls a new coach from Sweden: John Slettvoll. With him, inflexible in and outside the ice, arrives a player destined to become the Resega's favourite: the legendary Kent Johansson!
The sprinting nr. 25 has a tough time getting adjusted, but what an explosion after Christmas! Next to him there's a Finn not always the best winger for Johansson: Häkan Hjerpe.
Enthusiasm for hockey in Lugano increases and other important players complete the team – which becomes more competitive day after day – i.e. Beat Kaufmann and Arnold Lörtscher.
The 1983/84 season is very regular: the team ranks in 4th position. In order to face the 1984/85 season, Slettvoll further strengthens the Lugano club with two essential players: Mats Waltin and Fredy Lüthi.
The first guy is a real mainstay of the Swedish National Team: together with Ingemar Stenmark and Björn Borg he is part of the legendary figures in Swedish sports. Another player arrives with them, Beat Eggimann, and will stay with the black-and-whites for several seasons.
The departures that should be taken note of are those of Aldo Zenhäusern and Martin Lötscher; in the meantime, Fabio Gaggini closes his competitive career. For the whole season, the black-and-white team chases the champions of the Davos club, but without success. It fails to conquer the umpteenth title of the Canton Graubünden guys.
However, it concludes its best season in that period by conquering the second place. The guy who steals the show, among the black-and-whites, is the elf Johansson.
Slettvoll prepares the 1985/1986 season fully conscious that it could really be the most important season in the history of the black-and-whites. The recruitment drive brings two new players of great promise to the Lugano club: Sandro Bertaggia and Andy Ton; there's also Jörg Eberle, who returns from Davos with two national titles.
A guy full of talent arrives with them: Roberto Triulzi, from St. Moritz in Canton Graubünden. 1 March 1986, the Lugano club is Swiss champion!
This is a memorable season that finishes with the most sought-after prize: the delivery of the cup of the first Swiss play-offs to captain Kaufmann, won in Davos' lovely ice rink. The guy who steals the show for the evening and for the whole championship in general is, once again, Kenta Johansson, with a good four goals in the conclusive contest that invert the score from 2-4 to 7-5! The ice rink in Davos is absolutely teeming with black and white colours, with more than 3000 season ticket holders to see and support the team. And that's when the Era of the Great Lugano Club begins. By following the motto "the winning team mustn't change", Slettvoll confronts his first season as the current champion with the same players of the previous year. In fact, the only new arrival is the goalkeeper Urs Räber, destined to alternate with Thierry Andrey as goalkeeper.
During the 1986/1987 season, with the Lugano club always at the top of the league, the author of what will become the greatest brawl in the history of the derby in Ticino drops by for a few games: Mats Hallin. 1986/87 is also the season that launches the Lugano club in Europe. Successful at first in East Berlin, the black-and-whites eliminate what – until then – had been considered the strongest western team absolutely: the Köln club! Never before had a Swiss team been able to reach its aim of playing in the European Cup's final phase. During the championships, the Lugano club confirms itself wonderfully and conquers its second national title in the play-off finals against the Kloten team. But, at the end of the season, various essential players leave the Lugano club: Waltin, Lörtscher, Kaufmann, Triulzi and Von Gunten.
In order to replace the various departures, mainly due to the withdrawal from the contests, the following players are called for the 1987/1988 season: the Finn Kari Pekka Eloranta, Peter Jaks, Thomas Vrabec, Didier Massy and Remo Walder. Even though Slettvoll still has to build a whole team, the Lugano club confirms itself as the championship's leader. In fact, after its dominance in the regular season, it attains its third title in a row in the play-offs, at the expenses of the Kloten team.
The black-and-whites impose themselves in the final in three games and win the last game at the Resega; the goal was shot by Vrabec in the extra time in front of the eyes of the literally delirious North End! A note of respect for the European Cup, too, which took place in an enthusiastic Resega. The guests of honour are no less than the legendary CSKA Moscow, the then great world leader with the legendary Larionov, Makarov, Krutov and Fetisov!, and the teams Färjestad and Kosice.
However, the Lugano team has no power whatsoever against these sacred monsters of European hockey. The Lugano team of John Slettvoll and Geo Mantegazza conquers the first place in the regular 1988/1989 season, too. With the arrival of spring, however, the bears in Berne wake up from their dormancy and the men in the federal capital pinch the Lugano team's title!
The never-ending challenge is concluded after five battles at the Resega, in front of the incredulous eyes of the black-and-white fans.
For the first time after the introduction of the play-offs, the Lugano team leaves the national title to an opponent. This deeply-felt disappointment leads to the difficult separation of the public from its great idol: Kenta Johansson. With him, even Peter Jaks returns to his Ambrì team and Thierry Andrey leaves the Lugano club, too.
The goalkeeper Markus Bachschmied, the defender Patrice Brasey and the unknown American Lane Mc Donald are called in order to re-launch the Lugano team in the 1989/1990 season. Unfortunately, the last-named, late in the championship, must abandon hockey because of a serious problem with an eye. The Lugano team is forced to look for a new foreigner and engages the Czech Dusan Pasek. Disqualified after a violent brawl against the Ambrì team, the wizard Slettvoll decides to call a small Japanese-Canadian to Lugano for the play-offs, Steve Tsujiura.
This small but great man will be at the origins of the fourth national title of the black-and-whites; in fact, together with Ton and Eberle, he will form a terrible line! In the final, the Lugano team takes its revenge for the previous season by winning in four games and conquering the title in the impressive Allmend ice rink, absolutely swarming with black-and-white fans. Once again, the Lugano club enters its name in the Swiss Hockey's roll of honour. A success that basically closes the Era of the Great Lugano Club and with it the era of a well-loved president, Geo Mantegazza.
The president-of-presidents, in fact, leaves the team in the hands of another of the Resega's favourites: Fabio Gaggini.
The season closes with the second place in regular season and the defeat in the final play-off against the usual Berne team in four games. However, the Lugano team crowns its year with a new participation in the European Cup's final round in Düsseldorf, where it will be on the verge of its exploit with the Finnish champions of the Turku team.
We are in the winter of 1991/1992, one of the most difficult ones.
The Lugano club confronts the season with several new purchases. Gingras and Thibaudeau replace Näslund and Svensson. The Swiss Brasey, Fontana and Bachschmied leave, too, leaving their place to the new-comers on the shores of Lake Ceresio: Doug Honegger, André Rötheli, Patrick Sutter, JJ Aeschlimann and John Fritsche.
During the ninth season as leading coach in the Lugano club, the wizard Slettvoll goes into a crisis, taking the Lugano team with him.
A tormented season with the second place in the regular season and, immediately after the Olympic Games, the bitter elimination by the Zurich club led by Arno del Curto at the play-off quarter-finals. For the first time in the play-offs' history, the Lugano team isn't present in the final. However, the season's task is for the black-and-whites to qualify in the Spengler Cup's finals, whereby the Lugano club wins hands down against the Mannheim team, it beats the Malmö team in extra time, loses by a single goal against Team Canada and beats the legendary CSKA Moscow at the penalty shots
And to support this star of the first magnitude in world hockey there is the Czech Petr Rosol. In the meantime, two internationals from Berne land in Lugano: Sven Leuenberger and Patrick Howald, as well as the Swiss-Canadian Mark Astley.
The Lugano club is extremely strong on paper but, somehow, it has trouble asserting itself. Murray has a hard time trying to adapt to European ways and in December, due to the internal situation in the changing rooms, the club is forced to dismiss him and to call back Slettvoll. The Canadian Brian Propp comes too, in order to give a hand. Together with Larianov – who has finally recovered after a long pubalgia – he will form an extremely dangerous pair. However, all of this isn't really enough to go beyond the play-off semi-final. The black-and-whites, in fact, are eliminated by the Kloten team at the penalty shots in the Resega.
Larionov leaves the Lugano club and returns to the NHL, where he will win the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings for two years running. Other players leave with him, too: Massy, Lüthi, Propp, Rosol and Eggimann.
The 1993/94 season sees two other Swedes on the shores of Lake Ceresio: Jan Larsson and Pär Djoos, as well as Sami Balmer and two greenhorns, destined to become the favourites of the black-and-white public: Lars Weibel and Marcel Jenni, found by John Slettvoll in the Under 18 National Team that he manages.
The greatest news of the 1993/1994 season, however, is the temporary rink called Reseghina.
In fact, the legendary, old Resega is in the course of being demolished, so that a new and modern facility can be built.
Third in regular season, Slettvoll's Lugano club is eliminated once again in the play-off semi-finals by the Kloten team, led by Michael Johansson, Kenta's brother.
John Slettvoll changes role and becomes the sports manager of the black-and-whites, while the Finn, Timo Lahtinen, becomes coach. The reinforcements for the 1994/1995 championship are Tommy Sjödin, Pat Schafhauser and Peter Kobel.
The 1994/95 championship leads the Lugano club to conquer the 2nd place in regular season directly after the Zug club.
But the play-offs betray the black-and-whites once again; they are eliminated by the usual Kloten team in the quarter-finals, which imposes itself in the Reseghina for its fifth challenge. Supported by the good show offered, the team renews its trust in Lahtinen and, as an additional aid, calls a fresh Stanley Cup winner to Lugano, the French-Canadian Stephane Lebeau, as well as two old foxes from the blue-and-white cousins, Keith Fair and Rick Tschumi.
The 1995/96 championship starts with an event that will make history: the inauguration of the longed-for Resega's new ice rink on 25 September 1995 with the first championship game between the Lugano team and the Lausanne team. However, hard times are ahead after the unforgettable party, and in October the club separates for lack of results on Lahtinen's part.
Therefore, John Slettvoll returns as coach, but the move doesn't reveal itself winning.
The Lugano club concludes the championship in 7th place only and is immediately eliminated in the play-offs by the Kloten team once again… how odd!
The 1995/1996 season won't only be remembered for the Resega's inauguration, but also for Pat Schafhauser's sad fate, the black-and-white defender who, in the evening of 5 December 1995, will slam violently against the balustrade in the Davos ice rink, thus severely damaging his spinal cord; he will be forced in a wheelchair.
After this sad accident, the Lugano club launches the idea of the "Fondazione Pat Schafhauser", with the aim of creating a fund for possible sports accidents. This foundation organises the famous All Star Game each year.
New spurs are needed for the 1996/1997 season, so the Lugano club hires a new coach, namely an old acquaintance of the black-and-white hockey team: Mats Waltin, who has returned from two seasons as the leader of the Davos club. Another great Swede arrives with him, Michael Nylander, who leaves the Calgary Flames (NHL), in order to wear the black-and-white jersey.
And due to professional reasons, it's Jörg Eberle's turn to leave, but together with Kenta, he will always remain in the hearts of the Lugano fans. The international Sutter will leave the club with him, too.
The 96/97 season is rather disappointing in its first phase. But as the team grows, inspired by Nylander and strengthened by the Russian Pavel Torgaev, it finally defeats the bugbear Kloten team, before being beaten, in turn, by Gaetano Orlando's Berne club in the play-off semi-final.
The supporters are hungry for victories and the team prepares a leading recruitment drive.
There are other arrivals apart from the promising Julien and Geoffrey Vauclair from Canton Jura: the international Patrick Fischer, Andy Näser, the Canadian Todd Elik, a mixed blessing in and outside the ice, the Swedish pluri-champion Peter Andersson, Trevor Meier, Rolf Ziegler and the Swiss-Canadian Mark Astley returns from Canada.
The departures that should be taken note of are those of the three foreigners Lebeau, Torgaev and Nylander. But the season begins badly and in November Waltin is substituted by Jim Koleff, who had come to Lugano as sports manager. Jim brings the team back into the ranking's top places, but he isn't able to save the season, because the black-and-white team is eliminated by the Davos team in the play-off's first round, once again after the penalties at the Resega. But the satisfaction for Julien Vauclair is great, drafted even by the glamorous Ottawa Senators.
The Lugano team wants to win once again, so Jim Koleff calls two greatly experienced players, whom he knows well: Gaetano Orlando and Misko Antisin. Régis Fuchs and Gaetan Voisard come from Berne, too. In order to help the defence and Lars Weibel, there's also the first foreign goalkeeper in black-and-white history: Cristobal Huet, a young French man ready to explode. The Lugano club also takes on Igor Fedulov, the top goalscorer in National League B, as he awaits his future red-crossed passport. Among the departures, there's that of Sjödin, for years the soul of the black-and-white defence. The regular season is characterised by unsteadiness, also due to the accidents to Orlando's hand, Bill Mc Dougall's substitute.
However, at the beginning of the play-offs, the team is complete and in top form. The Lugano club suffers with the Davos club, but with the help of a next to unbeatable defence and goalkeeper it splendidly eliminates the current champions of the Zug club; it then prepares itself to confront the Ambrì club in the finals, the protagonist of a record regular season. Canton Ticino is in a state of agitation and the derby mood is strongly felt. Thanks to a better freshness and experience, the Lugano team, edition 1998/1999, conquers its fifth national title on 5 April 1999 at the Valascia, by beating its cousins in five games and by winning a good 3 encounters out of 3 up in the valley! All the players are protagonists in this splendid venture, but the following stand out in particular: the goalkeeper Huet, the defender and captain Andersson and the indestructible Orlando, who will end his magnificent career at the age of 36.
The men of Koleff win the domestic challenge against the Slovan Bratislava club and, in a game teeming with emotions, they also vanquish the rink of the Slovak champions 6 to 5 in the second game. The seriousness and professionalism of the Lugano club bring about the Top Four Final, the final leg with four teams to crown the team European champion. In a greatly agitated Resega and in front of 24'000 spectators for four games, the Russians of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk team led by Gomoljako give an encore and beat the Sparta Prague team in the finals. It was exactly the Czech champions who, the previous evening, in extra time, had made the black-and-white dream go up in smoke. A fantastic game finally solved by the Czech Vujtek; the Lugano team, in fact, had nearly been on the verge of victory several times.
However, this extraordinary European adventure leaves a mark in the players' bodies and souls. The play-offs begin with the easy victories over the Fribourg and Ambrì teams, but not so with the ZSC Lions team. The games are really under pressure, Andersson is in bed with angina and notwithstanding the cues of Dubé and Bozon, the Lugano team loses at the Hallenstadion in "contest 6" when, 10 seconds to the whistle, Plavsic gets the 4 to 3 goal.
The Zurich team is Swiss champion and the Lugano is the protagonist of a splendid year, although without any titles to add to the notice board.
The 2000/2001 season, the HCL's 60th birthday, faithfully follows the previous season in some things.
In fact, the black-and-whites close the regular season in the lead, always in front of the ZSC Lions.
The play-off quarter-finals and semi-finals are rather suffered, but the successes against the Fribourg and Berne teams respectively are possible especially because of the character and experience that allow various victories in extra time and, in particular, at the penalty shots.
And it's at the penalty shots, incidentally, that the relentless JJ Aeschlimann closes Renato Tosio's great career at the Allmend.
The great final with the Zurich team is extremely intense, often unfair, polemical and, unfortunately, with an extremely bitter end.
The Lugano team leads three to one in the series, but it doesn't conclude anything in "contest 5" at the Resega.
On the famous 7 April 2001, "Game 7" is vibrant: Dubé gets a goal, but Zeiter ties at the 51st minute. Extra time is in full swing and Morgan Samuelsson strikes Huet and the blood of the black-and-white fans runs cold.
Unfortunately though, the blood of roughly thirty offenders doesn't curdle, protagonists of serious uncivil behaviour during the awarding of prizes.
The Hockey Club Lugano plc. is founded in the 2001/2002 season, the public limited company that manages the activities of the first team as well as of the Junior Elite team.
The glorious HCL Association remains on its feet as majority shareholder of the HCL plc. and as main team for the Youth Sector, the club's Female Section and the Old-Timers team. Beat Kaufmann becomes the first president of the HCL plc.'s board of directors, while Fabio Gaggini remains in the lead of the HCL Association.
The championship begins with the game Lugano-Rapperswil, which will be remembered as the first (and hopefully the last) game without spectators, due to the accidents that occurred during the previous season's finals. And then, an ex player of the "Great Russia" arrives as coach of the Lugano club: Zinetoula Biljaletdinov.
With him comes a player who is already well-known and appreciated in Switzerland: Petteri Nummelin.
Moreover, the inseparable André Rötheli and Patrick Sutter return to the shores of Lake Ceresio, while Ryan Gardner arrives from Ambrì. Philippe Bozon leaves and is substituted by Mike Maneluk.
The Lugano club begins the season excellently, but gradually it loses lucidity and game. In the end, it's eliminated from the Continental Cup by the Milan Vipers, thus forcing the black-and-white management to take the drastic decision of dismissing the current coach.
Jim Koleff takes his place once again; until then, he had been sports director.
Two new players are then purchased in order to strengthen the black-and-whites – this happens just before the play-offs and after a memorable tour in Japan. The purchases are Noël Guyaz from Chur and Ronnie Rüeger from Zug.
The latter will take the place of the goalkeeper Cristobal Huet who, in the summer, will leave the Lugano club for the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL, thus permitting the Lugano club to play with three foreigners. In fact, the forward Bob Lachance and the defender Greg Andrusak arrive.
At the end of the regular season, the black-and-whites are in second place directly behind the Davos team, but the play-offs aren't really satisfactory… after having beaten the Zug team in the quarter-finals, they're eliminated once again by the usual Lions club.
The team from Canton Graubünden, after having dominated the whole season, will become Swiss Champion.
In the 2002/2003 season the cycle of the "after Dubé" and the "after Huet" comes into being – two players who have left a mark in the Lugano club.
To make up for the departure of the great player number 96, a talent in Swiss hockey is called for: Adrian Wichser. At the end of the regular season, he will be the player with the most goals shot in National Division A. The regular goalkeeper is Ronnie Rüeger.
Jimmy Koleff then calls an old acquaintance from Swiss hockey, the American Corey Millen, an already appreciated player in the HCAP, to play side by side with the foreign pair Maneluk-Nummeli. His performance is, however, disappointing.
Krister Cantoni returns to the shores of Lake Ceresio, too. He had played in the black-and-white youth section in his early years and had then left the Resega in order to acquire some notable experience elsewhere.
However, the Lugano club has trouble getting started and has a hard time in finding its style. Koleff thus decides to purchase another Canadian player: Brandon Convery.
This move, however, isn't really winning and, after the umpteenth defeat (on the part of the Berne team of the "ex Dubé), the management is rather under pressure and decides to separate definitely from Koleff, whose relationship with the fans and mass-media appears to be rather worn-out.
An era is thus abruptly closed.
Larry "Harry Potter" Huras arrives as new coach. Game after game, he spreads faith and fighting spirit everywhere and gets the Lugano club back on its feet. In fact, as if by magic, the team manages to give its best and entertain the public once again.
At the end of a very balanced regular season, the Lugano club comes in fourth. Ahead of it in the ranking there are the following teams: Davos, ZSC and Berne.
The play-off series begins against the Kloten team; as usual, this opponent is particularly difficult to tackle, but the newly-born Lugano team manages to dominate rhythms and timing, thus attaining the qualification for the semi-final.
In the meantime, as a support for the defending line – temporarily lacking the injured Nummelin – the greatly solid and reliable American defence Barry Richter steps in.
The opponent that has to be confronted in the semi-final is, once again, the Zurich Lions team.
But this year the tendency finally changes. Thanks to two convincing victories at the Hallenstadion, the black-and-whites impose themselves with the result 4 to 1, which is also due to the scoring vein on the parts of Convery and Maneluk, and to the whole team's great defence.
Waiting for us in the final is the Davos team led by Arno Del Curto, the current champion.
The first two games are won by the team from Canton Graubünden and – seemingly – its aim in rejecting the attacks on the part of the Lugano club for the national trophy works out. But the latter doesn't give up, on the contrary! It brings out its fighting spirit in the rink and – starting from Contest 3 and with a character enviable to the greatest gladiators – will win the four remaining games.
This was a task achieved by the whole team as such, and not by the single top players, such as Rüeger, the tireless Keith Fair, the conveniently handy Murovic, the brilliant Nummelin, and a very much inspired Rötheli.
Contest 6, which counts as match point, is clearly dominated by Captain Fuchs and fellows in an over-crowded Resega with a peremptory 4 to 1 made possible by an excellent collective performance.
The black-and-white team thus snatches the cup from the hands of an extremely disappointed Reto Von Arx and brings the black-and-whites' sixth title to the shores of Lake Ceresio.
This is a title that all the fans from Lugano will never forget, being the last title won by the great Sandro Bertaggia as player.
Sandro, an indomitable bulldog, a great man and model player, decides in fact to withdraw and gives up ice skating. His career was a fantastic one and lasted a good 18 seasons with over 800 participations in National League A and 6 Swiss champion titles with the Lugano jersey!
...the unique jersey Number 2 that no other black-and-white will ever wear...
For the 2003/2004 season, the Swiss black-and-white team is completed by some minor finishing touches: the great Sandro Bertaggia is substituted by the young and talented defender from Langnau, Steve Hirschi, born in 1981.
During the summer, there's a lot of talk about the possible arrival of Oleg Petrov as Maneluk's substitute, but then, considering everyone's wishes (in particular the team's and the North End's) the decision to keep Iron Mike is taken. He is going to play side by side with a legendary Finnish hockey player, Ville Peltonen, already world champion with his hat-trick in the final and who, in January, had held the Continental Cup's winning trophy as captain of the Jokerit team right here at the Resega (see picture). The third foreigner is the untouchable Petteri Nummelin who, incidentally, will also receive the MVP prize for the preceding season. The introduction of two young men in the first team's group should also be proudly acknowledged: Mattia Bianchi (born in 1984) and Roman Botta (born in 1984, too).
The championship begins and proceeds brilliantly; the black-and-whites – spurred in particular by the forwards' extraordinary vein in the rival team – conclude the regular season at the top of the ranking, ahead of the Berne team, and with a record that had never been registered before: 74 points in 48 games played!
It's the beginning of January. The team, followed by more than a hundred fans, undergoes the experience of a lifetime in Gomel, a city in one of the poorest countries of the poor, Belarus. From the sporting point of view, there's a certain disappointment regarding the new bronze medal in the Continental Cup's Superfinal. After having defeated the Rouen team, the Lugano club loses by a hair against the home team (3-2), and in the end, wins the finals for the third place in a lovely game against the current Russian runners-up of the Severstal Cherepovets team.
On 22 February 2004, the Resega lives an afternoon of intense emotions. In a mood of great collective participation, Alfio Molina's jersey nr. 1, Sandro Bertaggia's jersey nr. 2 and Pat Schafhauser's jersey nr. 4 are officially collected. The last-named is connected "live" by satellite and is deeply moved all the way from Minneapolis to the new giant screens at the Resega.
In the first round of the play-offs, the black-and-whites confront the Fribourg team, whom they eliminate in four games. But then the ghosts of the ZSC Lions team reappear in the semi-final.
The Lugano team wins the first home contest hands down, but loses the subsequent three, one of which in extra time at the Resega and one at the penalty shots in an away game! It's forbidden to lose now and, as is common knowledge, when the going gets tough… the tough get going!
At the Resega, the black-and-whites disallow the first matchball on the part of the Zurich team and the second one at the Hallenstadion thanks to an incredible recovery in the game's last instants (with Rüeger on the bench and a goal by Peltonen) and a goal in extra time on the part of Maneluk (see picture) and the third one at the Resega once again. Incredible but true… in the end, the Lugano team eliminates the Lions team and is in the final!Therefore, the ones to play in the final for the title of Swiss Champions are the players from the Huras team and the ones from the Berne team.
The "best of five" will be carried out for the final. The contest starts at the Resega and the Lugano team seems to be in trouble… it had lost its psychophysical energies in the semi-final two days earlier… and immediately loses the home advantage, too.
The second game, played at the BernArena, is won once again by the bears 2 to 1 and, as had already been the case with the ZSC team, the Lugano team can't afford to lose anymore! So at the Resega, the team plays a perfect game and brings the Berne team to the fourth game. In front of an incredible public, completely crazy about the capital's team, the black-and-white team recovers once again and shoots a goal, thanks to a brilliant dart on Nummelin's part (see picture) … the winning goal only three minutes to the end.
The prize-giving is thus decided at the fifth and last game in a completely booked-out Resega and after a memorable hunt for a ticket. The encounter is well-balanced until the end when, only 32 seconds (
But unfortunately, energies are running low… and the Berne team manages to grasp its victory at minute 14.20 in extra time with a goal by Marc Weber.
All of this takes place in the presence of an exemplary sporting mood on the part of the public, even when the cup is handed over.
Congratulations to the new champions of the Berne team, but congratulations to the Lugano team, too, for having given us a really unforgettable play-off, which will make history as the greatest play-off ever played in Switzerland!
The season 2004/2005 will be registered into the annals of Swiss Ice Hockey History as one of the most interesting ones and for the HC Lugano as one of the strangest. The reasons are obvious: For once the lockout in the NHL. World stars such as Joe Thornton, Rick Nash, Niklas Hagmann, Dan Brière and Martin St. Louis showed their skills on Swiss ice fields. Next the early drop out of the title candidate HC Lugano during the quarter finals against the actual Swiss Master SC Bern. Who later got worsted of the HC Davos.
The HC Lugano won sovereign the regular season, this thanks the two outstanding goal keepers and the two Finns Petteri Nummelin and Ville Peltonen. Because of, or owing to the lockout, the HC Lugano committed the Swiss NHL Goalie of the Colorado Avalanche, David Aebischer (photo). He propelled Ronnie Rueger to maximum output. The situation in the NHL remained meanwhile unclear for the Trainer staff: Aebischer could have returned from one day to other to the NHL. This uncertainty helped Ronnie Rueger to play more and forced David Aebischer to be the reservist.
The long championship winter of the HC Lugano is characterized by a long injuries list. The adductor problems of Mike Maneluk, two brain concussions of Benoit Gratton, from whom the HCL technicians predict a promising season, but who could never fulfil the expectations. But nevertheless Lugano remains the solid table leader. In the Resega the NHL stars replace another: Kimmo Timonen, Jason Blake and above all Alex Tanguay (picture), a 24 years old great player, who is however pursued by injuries and bad luck. First an old hip injury breaks open again - he returned after two months and suffers promptly on a knee joint injury. Tanguay must throw the towel briefly before the beginning of the playoffs.
The HCL management obligates Martin Gelinas (picture) - a star, with more than 1000 NHL games experience and a double Stanley Cup winner. He played (because of lockout) in the national league B with Forward Morges. The evening before the playoffs received Paul di Pietro the Swiss passport. He had a good season at the partner team EHC Chur.
Playoffs begin. Opponent: the SC Berne. The acting Swiss Master had an extremely turbulent season behind, shaped from the coach change and plays "on death and life", to rich the 8th place on the championship to qualify for the playoffs.
The quarter finals series ended with 4-1 for Bern. The decision in the "game of the games" was made by the goal made by the young defender Furrer in overtime. For the HC Lugano, its players and the fans was a great tragedy. Expectations, after the brilliant regular season, were high - the crash brutal. And a breath of sadness covered the Resega, as JJ Aeschlimann after 14 successful seasons with the HC Lugano his farewell round in the dismayed Resega turns...
The new championship 2005/2006 begins: Lugano wins with regularity, and often the team proposes a convincing game to a demanding public. Just a few weeks are enough to understand that Glen Metropolit's arrival from Jokerit Helsinki (he'll be the Topscorer of the whole regular season) has allowed Lugano to improve its game. Jason York, with more than 700 games in the NHL, reinforces the defence and Lugano is on the top of the league standings, but the team frequently shows a minimalist attitude, and it tends to rest on its laurels.
Before Christmas the club announces, drum's rolls, that Larry Huras won't be the technician of the future. Frankly, this wasn't an unexpected new but was argued at length, also because in the following weeks, many key men reproached a loss in the performance, however, some loud victories at Ambrì and Davos gave some illusion.
But when the important games began, nervous fragilities and scarce incisiveness emerged, principally considering the previous intense Olympic emotions, to whom seven players contributed with Finland and Switzerland with all their strength. Ambrì exploited all its resources and pushed Lugano to the edge of an unbearable blow and the direction reacted with the exemption of the technician. The supporters went mad, and some people fell in the verbal aggression, and others, strong with an indestructible faith, overwhelmed the players with inciting messages: impossible is nothing!
The new leaders, head coach Harold Kreis from partnerteam Chur and co-coach Ivano Zanatta dispatched the responsibilities and asked the players, their brains, hearts and balls. With the weapon of the poor that is humility, the team thickened. The crazy goal of Vauclair at the Valascia was a sign of the doom, and the locker room became granite, waterproof to any attempt of destabilization. Each player was aware that only with one's sacrifice to this cause the miracle could still happen. This undertaking, that never happened in Europe before (only two times in the NHL!), became reality the 19th of March 2006: from 0-3 to 4-3 in the series against Ambrì.
The anguish to loose against the "cousins" vanished, and then came the most exiting part… With the impulse Lugano knocked down Kloten (4-1 in the semifinal series), the executioner of the leader Bern; biting but unripe Kloten challenged the current champion Davos: but there was no game. Lugano brushed the competitive and aesthetic perfection, and it travelled like a train in acceleration that runs over everything and everybody.
Any player sublimated all his features, but the heroes were not the single players such as the sprite Nummelin, the bomber Hentunen, the terminator Gardner, the gladiator Sannitz, the terrible Metropolit and captain Peltonen.
The whole team has triumphed thanks to the unity of intents reinforced in the difficulty.
And when the 13th of April 2006, the final siren rang at the Resega, the HCL people was at the seventh heaven. The joy is much deeper and more authentic when suffering precedes victory.
But this victory is also the pride of a team that has taught Ticino and the whole Switzerland what it means to honour the dress of the Hockey Club Lugano.
After having touched to the seventh heaven, the society and the HCL fans lived very difficult months. The National Hockey League knocked at Metropolit's door, and just some time later, at Nummelin's, Peltonen's and York's too: a very tough blow on the sportive level. Never did a Swiss club lose four players in the same time, for a more prestigious scene. As that was not enough, the magistrate's investigation on the illegal payments shook the HCL direction within its very basements. A media "tsunami" that flowed towards the restructure of the board of directors that took place on the 29th of November 2006 with the resignations of Beat Kaufmann and of Fabio Gaggini from their respective functions, and with the election of Fausto Gianini as president of the Association, and above all that of the new board of the joint stock company lead by the new strong man of the club, Paolo Rossi.
On the technical level, the head-coach Ivano Zanatta and the assistant-coach Glen Williamson had the task to forge the team and to mould it in the internal hierarchies and in the subdivision of the responsibilities. Inside the cage, after Ronnie Rüeger's departure to Kloten, the young Simon Züger is given full confidence. In the defence zone, the Swedish player Dick Tärnström, MVP of the 2004 world championship, just arrived from the Stanley Cup, and Jason Strudwick, a solid worker with a long NHL experience got hired. On the forward front, the new foreigners who signed with the club are the inconstant USA scorer Landon Wilson and the second Swedish man, the playmaker Rickard Wallin.
Through a waterproof resistance for what concerned the external turbulences, the group grew on the space of the regular season: and here was a team that liked to define itself as worker, and that the HCL people appreciated just for that. Sixty minutes of constant commitment, change after change, following Ivano's orders. Despite the loud accidents of Hirschi and Conne, captain Jeannin and his mates took part in this season, giving results much more satisfying than expected; the fact that the team fought to reach the first place until the very last moments and closing the season at the fourth rank, proves this.
Meanwhile, in January 2007 the HCL family lived another unforgettable international experience. More than two hundred fans followed the team to Saint Petersburg for the Super Six tournament with the National champion teams of the six strongest European nations. Lugano climbed on a fully deserved podium by defeating Färjestad (3-0), before bowing, with the same result, in front of Ak Bars Kazan, the Russian team with a financial potential worthy of the National Hockey league. For those who lived them, these were five unforgettable days, in which the warmth and the affection towards the players and the club turned out to be strengthened. On the other hand, the club too proved its willingness to be more dynamic and more instinctive by offering the free entrance to the game against Basel, that was followed by 6283 persons.
Then the team got to the playoff where the quarter finals' adversary was Eldebrink's Kloten, with Hollenstein on the bench and Rintanen, Pittis and Hamr on the rink. Lugano offered its adversary the first victory by losing "game 1" through an unforeseeable distance collapse. Defeating the Schluefweg then became an obligation. The team brushed the enterprise but the flyers won the game during the overtime. An incredible 8-1 waked up the HCL ambitions once more, but thanks to their implacable powerplay, the flyers won back at home. After a new Lugano's success at the Resega, "game 6" decided its elimination. And the coup de grace was carried by the clamorous mistake made by the referee Prugger who whistled while the puck was still in movement, just when Jeannin was about to score 32 seconds before the final siren, what would have been the 2-2 goal.
A conclusion that leaves some bitterness, even though this has been a constructive season, particularly on a future perspective. The Ladies Team winning once more the Swiss champion title has to be underlined as well, so should be the promotion of Ceresio/Lugano, a team composed in particular by Juniores Elite HCL and by ex players of the HCL family, in the first league.
On 22 June 2006 in the course of a press conference the Hockey Club Lugano presented its reshaped trademark.
In the future, two HCL logo versions will be placed side by side: an institutional version and a sportive version.
The logo that will represent the HCL in the institutional contexts is similar to the old emblem but without the stars.
The most important change concerns the sportive logo and therefore all the game jersey and the merchandising. It represents till now a picture that can be interpreted in different ways. Some saw an owl, some a tiger, others saw the crossing of two sticks, two pucks and the goalkeeper mask.
From now on, this image will definitely and unequivocally be seen as a panther, which reveals -according to the press conference- the valours of the Hockey Club Lugano: strength, class, agility, cleverness, speed, aggressiveness, elegance, beauty and grit.
The company name, the team name or the official colours of the team never changed since the club has founded.
With the new logo, a new official Mascotte is born: the black panther "Giazzy".
The Resega is a hockey arena in Lugano, Switzerland. It is primarily used for ice hockey and is the home arena of Hockey Club Lugano, HC Lugano Ladies Team, HC Lugano-Ceresio and HC Porza.
It was build in 1995, after the demolition of the old glorious one.
The Resega holds 8,000 people. The stadium has also 9 locker rooms, a conference room, a restaurant and 10 buvettes.
In 2007 the Resega is the first ice rink in Switzerland provided with a new and important element: thanks to the collaboration of the Dicastero Sport of Lugano, the Federazione Ticinese Integrazione Andicap (FTIA) and the Hockey Club Lugano, a new platform for disabled persons has been realized. This is situated on the first level (E zone) and it allows an excellent view and accessibility for people on wheelchairs and for their helping escorts.
Under the roof of Resega are hung the 7 Swiss Champions banners along with the 2 Swiss Chamipions banners of the Ladies Team and the 3 retired jerseys.
On 22 February 2004, the Resega lives an afternoon of intense emotions. In a mood of great collective participation, Alfio Molina's jersey nr. 1, Sandro Bertaggia's jersey nr. 2 and Pat Schafhauser's jersey nr. 4 are officially collected.
|20|| Pasquale Terrazzano|
|29|| David Aebischer|
|3|| Julien Vauclair|
|5|| Timo Helbling|
|7|| Alessandro Chiesa|
|8|| Steve Hirschi|
|12|| Leandro Profico|
|11|| Matteo Nodari|
|21|| Krister Cantoni|
|33|| Petteri Nummelin|
|49|| Andreas Hänni|
|9|| Dario Kostovic|
|16|| Elias Bianchi|
|17|| Tristan Vauclair|
|23|| Thierry Paterlini|
|26|| Romano Lemm|
|38|| Raffaele Sannitz|
|40|| Flavien Conne|
|41|| Patrick Thoresen|
|44|| Andy Näser|
|61|| Mauro Jörg|
|67|| John Pohl|
|76|| Hnat Domenichelli|
|79|| Fabrizio Conte|
|88|| Kevin Romy|
|89|| Cyrille Scherwey|
|1963/64||promotion to National League B|
|1970/71||promotion to National League A|
|1981/82||Return to National League A|
|1982/83|| participation in the round for the title|
|1983/84|| participation in the round for the title|
|1984/85|| participation in the round for the title|
|1985/86|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
|1986/87|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
finalist in European Cup
|1987/88|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
semi-finalist in European Cup
|1988/89|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
semi-finalist in European Cup
|1989/90|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
|1990/91|| 2nd Place in Regular Season|
finalist in European Cup
|1991/92|| 2nd Place in Regular Season|
finalist Spengler Cup
|1992/93|| 4th Place in Regular Season|
|1993/94|| 3rd Place in Regular Season|
|1994/95|| 2nd Place in Regular Season|
|1995/96|| 7th Place in Regular Season|
|1996/97|| 5th Place in Regular Season|
|1997/98|| 6th Place in Regular Season|
|1998/99|| 3rd Place in Regular Season|
|1999/00|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
4th Place European Hockey League
|2000/01|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
|2001/02|| 2nd Place in Regular Season|
|2002/03|| 4th Place in Regular Season|
3rd Place Superfinal Continental Cup
|2003/04|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
3rd Place Superfinal Continental Cup
|2004/05|| 1st Place in Regular Season|
|2005/06|| 2nd Place in Regular Season|
|2006/07|| 4th Place in Regular Season|
3rd Place European Champions Cup (Super Six)
|2007/08|| 9th Place in Regular Season|
fisrt round playout
|Kind of record||Record holder||Record|
|Games played||Bertaggia Sandro||806|
|Most Goals||Eberle Jörg||268|
|Most Assists||Ton Andy||267|
|Most Points||Ton Andy||462|
|Goals (PP)||Eberle Jörg||40|
|Goals (SH)||Johansson Kent||9|
|Goals (OT)||Fuchs Régis||5|
|Goals (GW)||Eberle Jörg||46|
|Most Penalty Minutes||Bertaggia Sandro||891|
|Coach % games/victories||Kreis Harold||80%|
|Kind of record||Record||Season|
|Most points in Regular Season||74||2003/04|
|Most victories in Regular Season||35||2003/04|
|Most shutouts in Regular Season (home+away)||10||1999/00|
|Most shutouts in Regular Season (away)||5||1999/00|
|Consecutive wins on Regular Season start (home+away)||10||2003/04|
|Consecutive wins on Regular Season start (home)||22||1999/00|
|Consecutive games without losing points on Regular Season start (home)||13||2004/05|
|Consecutive games without losing points on Regular Season start (away)||5||1985/86 and 2003/04|
|Consecutive wins during Regular Season (home+away)||27||1987/88|
|Consecutive wins during Regular Season (home)||22||1999/00|
|Consecutive wins during Regular Season (away)||15||1987/88|
|Consecutive games without losing points during Regular Season (home+away)||15||1988/89|
|Consecutive games without losing points during Regular Season (home)||17||1999/00|
|Consecutive games without losing points during Regular Season (away)||12||1987/88 and 2000/01|
|Score 4 goals on less time||1' 24" (HC Lugano - HC Davos 7:1)||1985/86|
|Most minutes without suffering goals during Regular Season||248' 10" (Huet Christobal)||1999/00|