Parents of aspiring ice hockey players are no longer able to tell their offspring to "find a real job". The sport is now a federally recognised profession, following the launch of a four-year apprenticeship by the Fribourg-Gottéron hockey club.This content was published on April 5, 2001 - 10:55
The former minister for sport, Adolf Ogi, first proposed the idea of a sports apprenticeship in 1999. In August, his ambition will become a reality, when the first 10 hockey apprentices will start their apprenticeship.
Their training won't be confined to just skating around a rink and occasionally hitting the boards. The course also focuses on hockey theory, and one and a half days a week will be given over to classes that will qualify the players as office workers.
The apprenticeship will not guarantee a job or contract with a hockey club, though.
"The risk of not finding a job after completing the apprenticeship is the same as for any other profession", said Roland von Mentlen, Fribourg's manager. "But there are other possibilities within the sport, such as trainer, referee or club employee."
For clubs like Fribourg, the apprenticeship has financial advantages because they will be able to put their trainees on the ice without having to fork out the big salaries that players usually command.
Gottéron will not be the only club to offer the apprenticeship. Zug, Kloten and Bellinzona are expected to follow suit shortly, while the cantons of Valais and Vaud are to set up a course for footballers and skiers.
swissinfo with agencies
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