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Time out for Zeiter

Zeiter has been told there is no role for him in the Swiss side Keystone Archive

Switzerland ice hockey coach Ralph Krueger has called up 32 players for the national team's first pre-Olympic training session. The most notable absentee at next week's "kick-off" will be the experienced Zurich Lions forward, Michel Zeiter.

The 27-year-old player has been a regular member of the Swiss squad over the past four years, scoring 28 goals in 116 international matches. Krueger did not elaborate on his reasons for excluding Zeiter, saying only that he could no longer find a suitable role for the player in his team.

Krueger’s decision may however have been influenced by reports that Zeiter has been attempting to undermine Lions’ coach Larry Huras following the Zurich side’s bad start to the season.

Weak showing

Having performed extremely well for the Swiss side at last year’s world championships in St Petersburg, Zeiter could also now be paying the price for his relatively weak showing at this year’s tournament in Germany.

With November’s Deutschland Cup offering players their only other chance to represent Switzerland before the start of the Winter Games, next week’s meeting in canton Zug is likely to be decisive for many Olympic hopefuls.

Although Krueger is not expected to be ruling out anyone on the fringes just yet, the battle for places is only going to get tougher once the Swiss players based in North America and Sweden become available for selection.

Squad for Swiss ice hockey “kick-off”:

Goalkeepers: Lars Weibel (Davos), Reto Pavoni (Kloten), Marc Bührer (Bern).

Defense: Martin Steinegger, David Jobin, Rolf Ziegler (all Bern), Mark Streit, Edgar Salis, Mathias Seger (all Zurich Lions), Olivier Keller, Patrick Sutter (Lugano), Martin Höhener (Kloten), Patrick Fischer II (Zug), Marc Gianola (Davos).

Offense: Martin Plüss (Kloten), Flavien Conne, Sandy Jeannin, Jean-Jacques Aeschlimann, André Rötheli (all Lugano), Patric Della Rossa, Gian-Marco Crameri, Mattia Baldi (Zurich Lions), Patrick Fischer I, Thierry Paterline, Michel Riesen, Sandro Rizzi, Björn Christen (Davos), Marc Reichert, Ivo Rüthemann, André Baumann (Bern), Alain Demuth (Ambri-Piotta), Reto von Arx (Davos).

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR