International Ice Hockey Federation

“Special moment”

“Special moment”

Swiss captain looking forward to World Juniors

Published 25.04.2017 09:17 GMT-4 | Author Ty Dilello
“Special moment”
Calvin Thurkauf will play his second World Junior Championship. Photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
After surprisingly missing out on the quarter-finals twice in a row, Switzerland is coming into Montreal hot and with fresh talent.

It's a team that has a lot of skill and speed, the kind that can do a lot of damage in a tournament like the World Juniors. It's all going to come down to if they can put the pieces together at the right time. In their last exhibition game the Swiss lost to Canada 4-3 in overtime.

Goaltender Joren van Pottelberghe is a Detroit Red Wings draft pick playing in the top Swiss league for HC Davos who will certainly be looking to bring his A game and replicate the performance of past Swiss World Juniors hero Benjamin Conz.

The other big positive for the team is the Swiss offence. Whether with or without the Florida Panthers’ Denis Malgin, the Swiss are stacked with talented players up front. Forwards Philipp Kurashev, Damien Riat, Calvin Thurkauf, Nico Hischier and Dominik Diem will look to lead the charge on offence.

19-year-old captain Calvin Thurkauf knows that he will have to be one of the difference makers for this Swiss squad if they open to advance in the tournament. The forward comes from Zug in central Switzerland and grew up in his hometown's hockey system, playing with Zug's U15, U17 and U20 teams.

He took up an offer to come to North America and play for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL instead of attempting to make the senior team in Zug. He had a solid season scoring 45 points in 61 games. NHL teams took notice of Thurkauf and he became a late round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft (7th round/185th overall).

So far in this 2016/17 campaign, Thurkauf has continued his scoring ways with 31 points in 28 games for Kelowna. With past World Juniors and U18 Worlds experience, Thurkauf is looking to be one of the leaders this time around for a team that is desperate to get back to the quarter-finals and not the relegation round, as was their fate in the last two years when they were upset by an upstart Danish squad. asked Calvin Thurkauf some questions.

How did you get into hockey and at what age?

I got into hockey because of my mom and dad. They always took me to watch the hockey games in my hometown of Zug, and then I finally started to play hockey at the age of four.

What was it like coming up through the Zug hockey system growing up?

It was great. Zug is a really good and very professional organization. I was very lucky to be able to start my career in such a great club that was in my hometown.

Describe your playing style?

I am a 200ft power forward. I like to shoot, score, and use my body out on the ice while still remembering I have a job in the defensive zone as well.

Are you excited by the chance of representing Switzerland once again at the World Juniors?

Yes I am very excited to represent my country for the second time at the World Juniors. It's a great honour for me and it's a very special moment for myself to be able to play in the World Juniors in Canada.

What are some of the goals you and your team hope to achieve at the tournament?

Our main goal is to make the quarter-finals. After that anything can happen. It comes down to how bad we do want to win.

What made you first decide to come over to North America to play in the WHL?

It was a big surprise for me to get drafted into the CHL because I had planned to stay in Europe. Once I got drafted I told myself "if you don't take this opportunity you won't get another one," so I took it and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I still say it was the best decision of my life to go explore the world of hockey in a different country.

What does it mean for you to be a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization? And have you been following how well they've been doing so far?

It is a great honour for me to be a part of such a great organization. I have the opportunity to prove myself to the world and the people that supported me over the years. Of course I follow them closely right now. From the games I have watched they are a really good team that can go really far this season.

How is your season going? You’re second now with the Kelowna Rockets.

So far it's going pretty well. We had a rough start, but have now got back on the winning street. We have been doing really well when we compete and stay within our systems, and I strongly believe that we can beat anyone and go really far this year.

Where do you see yourself hockey-wise in five years?

I want to have established myself into the team of Columbus. It's a day-to-day process.

NHL Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Childhood Idol: Wayne Gretzky (The Great One)
Video Game: NHL 17
Movie: Transformers
TV Show: Breaking Bad
Pump-Up Song: Lose Yourself - Eminem
Home-cooked meal: Rosti (hash browns) and sunny side up eggs
Activity Away From the Rink: Golf, reading, and hanging out with friends


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