On Wednesday the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation (SIHF) announced the 25 players who were nominated to be part of their team participating in the 2022 Karjala Cup, taking place from November 10 through November 13 in Turku, Finland.
The Karjala Cup is generally part of the Euro Hockey Tour, a series of tournaments in which national teams from various nations play one another. Two of the players named to the Swiss team were defenseman Tobias Geisser and forward Damien Riat whom remain the rights of the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals drafted Geisser in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry draft with pick #120 overall. He played with the Bears during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons and returned to the Bears for the 2021-22 season. He left the Capitals after the 2021-22 season when he signed a three-year deal with EV Zug in the National League in Switzerland.
Photo: EV Zug
The Capitals drafted Damien Riat in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Entry draft with pick #117 overall. He played for the Bears during part of the 2020-21 season and was loaned to HC Lausanne in the Swiss National League for the 2021-22 season. After the season, he signed a multi-year deal with HC Lausanne.
This is the first time the Swiss national team has been a full member of the European Hockey tour. In contrast to past seasons, where the focus was on younger players, this time Patrick Fischer, the Head Coach of the Swiss National Team, focused on choosing players for his squad who had a lot of international experience.
The team is to meet in Kloten on Monday, November 7th, and complete a final training session in Switzerland that afternoon. The next day, the team will fly to Helsinki and, from there, travel to Turku, the tournament venue. The team will practice on Wednesday, November 9th before playing the first game of the tournament on November 10th against the reigning Olympic and world champions Finland.
“We’re really looking forward to the tournament, Fischer said. “It gives us the opportunity to see the players in serious battles against the best teams in Europe for the first time in November.”
In most of the past tournaments, the participants in the Karjala Cup were Sweden, Finland, Czechia, and Russia. But with Russia banned from international competition as a result of the war against Ukraine, Switzerland will participate instead.
There are no other Capitals prospects that are members of any of the other participating teams in this year’s Karjala Cup. In past years, former Capitals goalie, Ilya Samsonov, was part of Team Russia.
More details about the selection of participating Swiss players for the Karjala Cup can be found here.
By Diane Doyle