A 22-year-old, Swiss-born Luca Sbisa — a defenseman for the Anaheim Ducks — starting playing in the NHL at the ripe age of 18. With each season, the young defenseman has considerably grown; not only by the numbers, but with added responsibilities. Sbisa is now a reliable force on the ice and it has reflected by his ice time in Anaheim.
Switzerland — more known for producing solid goaltending — has David Aebischer, Martin Gerber, and Jonas Hiller representing the country. Besides those three, there isn’t many Swiss hockey players that are a household name. Sbisa for sure thought he didn’t have a chance at the pros, but when a couple of young Swiss players were given their chance it inspired Sbisa to get at the level where he can play professionally and learn North American hockey:
“I’ve always said that there’s two ways you can go: either you establish yourself in this league first, become one of the best players and then you try it, or you go at the young age, what I did, too. I learned the North American game pretty early, and I think more guys are trying to go that way, and it’s been working for them.”
When the lockout became apparent, Sbisa did not hesitate to play overseas. Now as a young emerging star, Sbisa is quietly playing internationally and raising recognition of Swiss-born players. Realizing his potential and the spot he has made for himself on Anaheim’s roster, Sbisa’s decision to use his time wisely was an easy one to make:
“For me, I mean I’m 22. I didn’t want to take the risk of not playing a full year,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll figure [the lockout] out and we’ll get the NHL started.”
Hopefully is right. Hopefully the lockout is resolved soon enough and players can go back to work. Luckily for Sbisa, it was easy for him to find work internationally where he is unintentionally already inspiring fellow Swiss players.