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Saturday night at the big game - Geneva vs Fribourg ice-hockey match

Posted on: 6th February 2018

What is there to do on a Saturday night in Switzerland? Go to an ice-hockey game, of course! 

HC Fribourg Gotteron were playing HC Geneve Servette at home, so we wrapped up warmly, nipped up the motorway in the school bus, and joined the crowds braving the wind and rain as they piled into Fribourg's BCF Arena. Behind the goals of each team are the standing spectator sections, and here we found ourselves in the home team's side, surrounded by excited Fribourg fans waving huge flags and chanting their favourite players' names. Two fans high up in the stands had brought drums, and the persistent pulsing of their pounding rhythms provided an energising heartbeat to the game.

With theatrical drama, the match began with the lights dimming, the rink barriers opposite sliding open, and, with a huge hiss of smoke, a vast mechanical dragon slide out onto the ice. The Fribourg team burst forth from the jaws of this mechanical beast, and skated onto the ice to great cheers from the home fans. Among them was the Fribourg mascot, a jolly green dragon with a red stomach, tattooed on which was the team's logo. Despite having a large tail (which must make balance tricky), he was the best ice-skating dragon we'd ever seen, and he did a few laps of the rink before jumping over the barriers to get the crowd waving and clapping.

The city of Fribourg is famous for the beautiful and wild Gottèron gorges, where legend has it, a dragon used to live and terrify the knights of old. Happily, the dragon that Fribourg ice-hockey team have recruited as their mascot seems to be much more friendly than his infamous great-grandfather. The buzzer sounded for the game to begin, and the match was even more dramatic than the pre-game entertainment. Anyone who's ever played air-hockey at an amusement arcade will appreciate the reflexes required simply to follow a ricocheting puck with one's eyes, let alone keeping up or catching one whilst skating on ice.

The athleticism and agility of the players as they flew forwards and backwards and spun on the ice was reminiscent of the grace of great dancers - except there were significantly more fights than one would usually encounter at the ballet; when they weren't hitting the puck with their sticks, the players were often seen hitting one another instead! No doubt inspired by the merry green dragon clapping in the stands, Fribourg shot ahead with a two-goal lead; however, by the time the third period was approaching its final few minutes, the score stood at four-all. Meanwhile, a couple of our girls were in danger of getting us into our own fight by, deep in the depths of the home team stand, cheering for Geneva! Luckily we managed to escape to the safety of the Surval mini- bus before any loyal Fribourg fans could take action!

The game went to penalty shoot outs, and the home-team took the win: Fribourg 5; Geneva 4. HC Fribourg
Gotteron have never won the National League, so who knows - maybe this will be the year of the merry green dragon...

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