Beginning on Friday, December 26th, Davos will become the center of the world’s hockey elite for a few days. The reason being the 88th edition of the Spengler Cup which runs until December 31st, to which Medvescak received the exclusive invitation required to take part in it.
The Bears are heading to Switzerland on Friday, but they already have Davos on their minds, especially those who have already had the opportunity to play in the Spengler Cup.
''When you get to the town, the first thing you think is that you’ve arrived in a winter wonderland. Wherever you turn you see beautiful snow-capped mountains, it’s bustling with people, the hotels and restaurants are full, so are the ski slopes and open skating rinks, everyone’s enjoying winter sports, and there’s a touching Christmas spirit in the air. The surroundings are exactly where you want to be during the holidays'', remembers Kurtis McLean, while Coach Doug Shedden confirms:
''The town looks like ‘Whoville’ from ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. If you’ve seen it, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s an unbelievable place to spend the Christmas holidays and when I think of Christmas I think of Davos. Mountains, open skating rinks, ski slopes, the atmosphere during the Spengler Cup… When you put it all together and add incredible teams like Davos, Jokerit, Team Canada, you get an unforgettable week during the holiday season that’s topped with fantastic hockey.''
McLean and Shedden didn’t hold back their amazement with the Swiss Alps and the Spengler Cup, which will clearly never fade no matter how many times they’ve been there. Shedden was won over by Davos in the ‘90s when he was briefly a part of HC Davos, and then got reacquainted with it when he came to the Spengler Cup as Team Canada’s coach.
''Five amazing cups and each one of them was special, as was the experience of the city. This cup is special primarily because of the fact that it’s the oldest hockey competition in the world, and then the fact that it takes place during Christmas time just adds to it all. That said, if you’re not excited about the Spengler Cup and you don’t value it, then you’re in the wrong job'', briefly clarified Shedden the value of the invite-only Swiss cup and what it means for Medvescak.
McLean took part in the cup as part of Team Canada three times, which was more than enough for him to want to come back.
''it’s a privileged to play in this tournament. Even though it’s about the cup, everyone wants to win it because this is the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the world, which only select teams can attend and everyone gives it their best at it. An invitation from Spengler is something that high-ranked professional teams around the world only dream of, and Medvescak’s fans should be extremely proud that their team was invited this year'', said Medvescak’s forward, whose favourite time at Spengler was in 2012 when he lifted the cup with Team Canada under Shedden’s load, and added:
''The stadium is always filled to the brim. Despite the tickets being rather expensive, they’re all sold out. The atmosphere inside is fantastic and you can see that people are truly enjoying hockey. This is going to be Medvescak’s first performance in the Spengler Cup, but I’m sure that we’re going to win over the fans over there and that everyone will cheer for us. The games are also broadcasted around the world, including in Canada, and our friends and family can watch us which gives the players added motivation.''
Shedden and McLean gave some highlights from the Swiss ‘Whoville’ that everyone enjoys, and mention one important thing:
''Everyone on the team, including players who have played in the Cup and those who haven’t, is taking this competition seriously. Even though we might rather be enjoying the atmosphere around the city, we have to focus because we know that we’re here to work, not to have fun. There are six very good teams performing in the Cup, and any one of them could be the one to lift the trophy. Davos, along with Team Canada, is always a favourite, and we have some tough games ahead of us. That’s why we’re going to have to be in tip-top shape and we can’t let up'', clarified McLean, while Shedden added:
''For fans and the players’ families this is a fun time, but its work for us and we won’t have too much time to relax because we’re playing every day. We’re in a tough group, and these first two games against Davos and Canada will be extremely difficult, but we’re ready for it. Maybe this is our moment in the season where we can do something special, when we can win something and have some fun along the way.''
After all, the Bears are heading to Davos with some solid arsenal…
''Shedden knows what it takes to win, he knows what the atmosphere is like there, the teams we’re playing against, and how to prepare us for all of that, and he already has a Cup under his belt and coached in the NLA. I’m certain he’s got an ace up his sleeve'', said McLean.