"The Youth Olympic Games are very important to us"
Sacha Weibel, CEO of the Lausanne Hockey Club (LHC), explains the impact of the Youth Olympic Games and the Ice Hockey World Championships in Lausanne in 2020 on the LHC, hockey and Swiss sport in general.
Which impact will the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games have on the LHC?
The Youth Games, and the Ice Hockey World Championships which will follow a few months later, are two very important events to us. Whether it has to do with a better visibility for the sport of hockey, with the training the youth or the development of infrastructure around the project, these two moments are very important for the LHC. But beyond that, I believe that the population of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud has to realise the importance of this moment that will come in 2020. With these two events, Lausanne will not only become a capital of hockey, but also of sports in general. It is a unique opportunity to shine all around the world not only as an Olympic Capital, but as a true Olympic City. I am very excited to live these historical moments with our public.
And, according to you, what will be the impact on the next generation of Swiss hockey players, especially in the French speaking part of Switzerland?
The impact of these two great events will be huge! Many people who have never had the opportunity to attend a hockey game will be able to familiarise themselves with our sport. It will be a great opportunity to promote hockey in 2020. But beyond hockey, all sports in the region will benefit from the new Malley Sport Centre as this new infrastructure will serve as a training centre for 4 sports. The legacy that these two events will leave will last much longer than the few weeks of competition in 2020; the sport sector in the region will benefit from this for decades. We have to show gratitude to the various stakeholders in the region who managed to bring the Youth Olympic Games and the Ice Hockey World Championships here as well as for bringing this fantastic new infrastructure to life.
Amongst the various innovative formats of hockey competitions, which one are you looking forward to seeing the most during the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games?
I am very excited to attend the 3x3 competition, a new format of hockey that is very quick in which three players of different countries are part of the same team. There is a lot of space on the ice, which allows players to be creative and make spectacular plays. It is not only exciting for the spectators, but it also constitutes a great training technique, both for the youth and the professionals. I hope the fans will come and see this!
Photo: Sacha Weibel, CEO of the LHC