LUGANO, Switzerland – Former Swiss national team defenceman Elwin Friedrich passed away at age 78 on Thursday morning after suffering a heart attack.
Known and feared for mastering slap shots – a rarity in Switzerland and Europe in those days – Friedrich represented Switzerland in 58 games including three IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (1961-1963), and captained the Swiss at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
Born in the canton of Thurgau, Friedrich played in Switzerland for the Grasshopper-Club Zurich, Zürcher SC and Lausanne HC before transferring to France’s ACBB Paris, one of the best European clubs at that time. He later returned to Switzerland where he won one championship with HC Villars (1963) before moving to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. There he was a player-coach for HC Lugano and HC Ascona and led Lugano from the third tier to the top league.
In the summer months Friedrich used to play field hockey and represented his country in 21 international games in that sport.