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Davos gears up for annual ice hockey tournament

Ice hockey fans pack the stadium in Davos for the Spengler Cup (file picture: Keystone)

(Keystone)

Five teams including hosts Davos will be battling it out for the Spengler Cup in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Favourites, Canada Selects, will be joined by Sparta Prague, Jokerit Helsinki and last year's winner, Cologne

Traditionally the home squad gets five top stars from the Swiss league to complete the team. This year, Davos firepower is boosted by four Scandinavians and one former Davos star, now playing in Berne, Ivo Rüthemann.

With the strong US and Canadian players who are under contract with Davos, the host team has a good chance of qualifying for the final.

However, Davos trainer, Arno del Curto, has complained bitterly of the stress his team are under with so many national and league matches to play in the run-up to Christmas: "Of course, we'd like to win but how on earth is that possible. My players are exhausted. We'll be glad if we can hold our own in such a strong field."

Among the big names to watch out for are NHL superstar, Mike Peca, who will be playing for Canada Selects alongside NHL veteran, Grant Ledyard, and Benoit Hogue. They will team up with other Canadians who play in the Swiss national league.

Organisers say demand for tickets has been high with most of the Davos games already sold out.

It's the 74th Spengler Cup and some 42 years, since Davos took the title.

swissinfo with agencies


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