Swiss Team – Calvin Thurkoff holds both Swiss and Canadian passports. In this sense, the game against Canada was not a normal game for the 24-year-old striker.
Thurkoff watched from a young age when the Swiss played against Canada at the World Championships or Olympic Games. Since the father is from there, he grew up bilingual, a part of the family still living there. Now he himself was on the ice for the first time against the North Americans at a major event. “It was special, but my heart clearly beats for Switzerland,” says Thurkoff in an interview with Keystone-SDA news agency.
He played his first international match against Norway (1:2) on April 20, 2018. But he could not make it to the World Cup then. For the Olympic Games in Beijing this February, he replaced Sven Santeller, who tested positive for the coronavirus. He is now also in the World Cup for the first time, scoring two goals (5:2) on his debut against Italy. Thurkoff is a player who brings a lot of energy to the game and is also very valuable in box play. Together with Tristan Sherway and Christoph Burtsky, he creates a line that gets under the skin of opponents.
Developed into a leader in Lugano
There was no doubt that Thurkoff was part of the World Cup squad. Lugano’s move from his parent club Zug did him well. He became a leader with the Bianconeri, scoring 17 goals and 22 assists in 56 games. “It helps when the coach trusts you and you are allowed to make mistakes,” Thurkoff says. But he doesn’t want it to be construed as a criticism of EVZ trainer Dan Tangness. With Jug, he had grown into an evolved team, which was not easy, Thurkoff said. He also broke his lower leg in January 2021.
Thurkoff was actually under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2020/21 season, only on loan to EVZ. After an unsuccessful season, a new contract with Columbus, for which he played three games, was no longer an issue. In total, he played for five years in North America, first with the junior team Kelowna Rockets, then mostly in the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters. “I learned to be mentally strong there. Eat it there or eat it.”
Thurkoff continues: Of course he was disappointed with how the North American adventure ended. “However, I have fulfilled my childhood dream of playing in the NHL. I am satisfied with my career so far, taking it. Now the focus is on Switzerland, I want to win the championship title with Lugano.”
“It was a great team effort”
But first he wants to continue to cause stir in Finland with Switzerland. The 6-3 win over Canada underscores the fact that anything is possible in this World Cup. “We showed a great team performance,” says Thurkoff. “Our strength is that we stay together no matter what. We did our job today.” The latter statement reflects the confidence of the Swiss.
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