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WEF 2017 Andres Ambühl

As a six-time national champion, Andres Ambühl is one of the most successful Swiss ice hockey players. He is a native of Davos and captain of the Hockey Club Davos. He’s known about the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) since he was a boy. (Kristian Kapp,

Two events make Davos famous abroad: the WEF and the Spengler Cup. The latter is the world’s most traditional ice hockey tournament. With 31 national titles, the Davos club is a Swiss record holder, and with Andres Ambühl, it has a real local as captain. Among the active players, he’s the most successful thanks to his six seasons as a champion. Born in Davos, Ambühl has played only four seasons outside of his hometown – so he’s regularly observed the WEF at close range.

In fact Ambühl grew up in Sertig, a valley near Davos, and he first experienced the WEF when he was 12. He remembers those days well.

“The controls were stricter back then. Even as a 14-year-old, you could be stopped in the middle of the road and asked to show your ID.” The WEF also affected the hockey club. “I played with the juniors, and we couldn’t train during WEF week as the military parked its cars in the ice rink.” Meanwhile, the situation has improved; the military takes over the cloakroom, but the ice remains free. “We can train, but we can’t drive to the rink,” explains Ambühl. Also, the hockey club can’t host home games during the WEF.

Yet Ambühl isn’t opposed to the event. “Without the forum, many people would miss out on a big source of income. Most of them profit: for example, the companies involved in setting up the WEF’s infrastructure. Or the businesses that rent their shops to WEF participants during the forum.”

It’s got quieter during the WEF in recent years. As a teenager, Ambühl experienced the demonstrations and vandalism that accompanied the WEF. ”When you're so young, these things don’t really bother you,” he says with a laugh. “On the contrary, my friends and I were curious about what was going on. But we also realised that we didn’t want to go into the city on those Saturdays because of the unrest.” Those times are over.

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