|PIC: Stephen McCaskill
In the summer of 2010, EV Zug completed the move from theirhome of over forty years to a brand new, ultra-modern arena. The need for a newstadium had been apparent for some time as the Eishalle Herti, in which EVZhave played since 1967, had not aged well and plans were made to move
. The endresult was the 7,015 capacity Bossard Arena which is billed as the most modernhockey stadium in Switzerland, and after my first visit, I am inclined tobelieve the hype.
The old Herti could be best described as a giant shed withan ice rink inside. Seats were cramped and uncomfortable while standing areaswere even worse. Every facility within the stadium, be it turnstiles or foodstands, felt squashed and compacted. While some fans have bemoaned the loss ofatmosphere, there is no doubt that the old arena was unsuitable for atop-flight hockey team in the 21st century.
The Bossard Arena improves on the old stadium in almostevery conceivable aspect. Firstly, the seats are spacious and easily accessiblewhile standing areas exist for both home and away supporters. A giant LCDscreen above the rink replaces the archaic scoreboards while modern lighting createsa sense of spectacle. Entering and exiting the ground is no longer a chorewhile areas inside the stadium are much bigger, ensuring that facilities don’tfeel like an afterthought.
Hospitality has also been improved dramatically. While thisis probably of no concern to those cheering on EVZ in the stands, the newfacilities will surely increase revenue. As one of the wealthiest towns inSwitzerland, if not Europe, Zug is host to a number of multinationalcorporations and the new dining and hospitality areas will hope to attract agreater number of corporate events. A new restaurant overlooks the ice andallows diners to eat while watching the game and a private room is availablefor functions. These facilities are a drastic improvement on the previoushospitality tent, which although offered great service, was situated outside ofthe stadium.
I was fortunate to be able to sample these facilities duringmy visit to see EVZ face local rivals Zurich. EVZ are enjoying a good seasonand are currently in 3rd position in the NLA having alreadyqualified for the post season play-offs. Games between these two teams areusually feisty encounters and this was no exception with a number of penaltiesissued by the match officials. The ZSC Lions barely troubled EVZ who emergedcomfortable 3-0 winners in front of a capacity crowd, who were delighted asseeing their team defeat the 2009 European and Victoria Cup champions.
While there was great sadness that accompanies any suchmove, the move to the Bossard Arena will hopefully be a positive one for theclub as they aim to add to their only championship, which they won in 1998.Some fans may miss the old ground, but if it’s good enough for Kimi,
it’s goodenough for me.
Match Photos: EVZ 3-0 ZSC Lions