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RULE THE ROOST

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What will the future of hockey hold? In Switzerland and around the world. Here are some serious and some less serious and rather teasing predictions as to what might happen soon.

Photo  Thomas Roost

The KHL will continue to expand and open a franchise in London.

China starts to develop as a hockey country. Consequently, they will build tons of new hockey rinks.

Chris McSorley’s Genève-Servette HC will run out of money but he will still  be able to sign Mark Streit to a three-year deal worth three million. Paying Mark Streit CHF 200,000 for the 2017-18 season, CHF 1.4 million for 2018-19 and CHF 1.4 million for 2019-20. However... after the 2017-18 season, Mc Sorley will trade him to Lugano... ;-)

There will be ongoing pressure to stop the decrease of goal scoring. The likeliest changes are different shapes of the goal posts and more restrictive rules for the shorthanded team during power plays. For instance, icing the puck will not be allowed anymore.

Seattle will be the next NHL expansion team within the next two to three years and then, an unprofitable franchise from the East will move to Québec. So I predict that we will have new teams in Las Vegas (already confirmed), Seattle and Québec soon.

SC Bern will set a new record in 2021: Firing four coaches and one CEO in one season. Mike Keenan will get fired because he didn’t behave accordingly in one of the SCB steak-houses. Heinz Ehlers will lose his job because he promised a goal-against-average of 0.1 but failed with 0.15. Morgan Samuelsson will manage to improve the players’ shot-strength by 12.5% on average but will lose in a cup game against Interlaken where he installed himself as the top-line centerman and didn’t score. Arno del Curto will get fired because he insisted that in every power-break, Marc Lüthi will serve him some coffee. Finally, Ralph Krueger will insist on firing CEO Marc Lüthi because he arrived 5 minutes late for a team dinner; he will succeed. SCB will win the Swiss Championship and the Champions Hockey League in this season. ;-)

Swiss hockey will develop a pathetic and aggressive marketing strategy with the aim to get more kids to play hockey.

Swiss chief editors will hire Don Cherry as a teacher to further improve the polarizing statements and appearances of Klaus Zaugg, Morgan Samuelsson, and Dino Kessler. Don Cherry will also have to teach them to bark even louder ;-)

Las Vegas will have a competitive team from the very beginning, thanks to the salary-cap They will certainly have good goaltending and probably the one or the other “overpaid“ superstar who doesn’t fit into another team due to a cap-restricted budget.

19-year- old Nico Hischier will be the 2nd-line center for Switzerland in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

There will be an outdoor game in New York City’s Central Park between the Rangers and the Islanders.

EHC Kloten will take the  “back to the roots”-attitude to a whole new level and will remove the wall behind the net to bring forest-atmosphere into the arena. In addition, their goalies are either brave enough to play without masks or accept a 50% salary cut. ;-)

The National League will once again think about welcoming teams such as the Schwenninger Wild Wings, Feldkirch, and/or Milano as part of our league.

We will soon watch NHL-games at home in virtual reality from every seat in the arena we want and we can switch to another seat at any time. We will have a 360° environment.

Swiss hockey will finally introduce an elite hockey program, a light copy of the US NDTP, to further improve our stagnating junior-hockey. In the beginning of this program, world-class hockey-educators from the US, Sweden, and Finland will be part of the project and teaching team.

HC Davos will claim the Championship because they worked so much harder than all the other teams and that’s why they have the better stamina. Or they will not be Swiss Champion due to too many games made their players so tired. (80-90? And all these brutally long and draining bus-rides in old, uncomfortable buses to other arenas in Switzerland, And let’s not forget the different time-zones...) It’s a miracle that they didn’t collapse earlier and still finished as a semi-finalist or wherever... ;-)

If fans, players, and team owners want and accept, there will be new gear for hockey players. A new technology already exists which can efficiently protect the players from injuries, but it might look a bit strange for some people and we have to get used to it. Players will wear full body suits (similar to what speed skaters wear) and this suit will protect their full body without hockey-pads. It’s made of a gel that can absorb pucks. Players will never feel it. And this particular technology already exists.

After several losses in a row, Switzerland will win a game against Denmark either in 2017, 2018, or 2019. And then, we definitely “know” once again that we deserve to be a medal contender at every tournament… ;-)

There will be events (similar to the Ryder Cup) between the best North American and the best European players from time to time.

The ZSC Lions will open their new 4500-seat “minimal art arena” (25 parking spots and one organic vegetarian food counter with 25 different kinds of green teas) in 2025 .And the mayor of Zurich will claim that this “monumental” project to be state of the art for all oncoming arena projects in Peking, New York, and Moscow ;-)

The NHL will decide not to play at the Olympics in South Korea. Alexander Ovechkin, however, will still play for Russia and he won’t care about the drastic multimillion-penalty from the NHL.

In the NLA, there will be many more Swiss head-coaches.

In 2018, the then 46 years old Jaromir Jagr will receive a multi-million offer from the KHL’s Kunlun Red Stars but will sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins instead ;-)

Diagnosing a concussion will be much easier. We will soon have blood tests for concussions.

And last but not least: Pascal Berger will score more goals with the SCL Tigers in 2016-17 than with Bern in 2015-16: exactly nine goals ;-)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Thomas Roost (@thomasroost) was born in 1960 and lives in Horgen, Zurich. Since 1995 he has been working as NHL-scout for Central-Scouting Europe, since 2010 also as scout for EHC Biel in the National League A.

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