ZURICH Ė Two trophies at the annual Sports Awards gala in Switzerland went to ice hockey as the Swiss national team and its coach Sean Simpson were honoured.
The Swiss national team that won silver in the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm and Helsinki won the Team of the Year 2013 award.
Switzerland won its first nine games at the World Championship before falling to host Sweden in the gold medal game. It was the best placing of the menís national team since winning silver in 1935.
The national ice hockey team won the award despite tough competition from football with the national football team that enters the 2014 FIFA World Cup among the top-seeded teams after ending the qualification stage undefeated and UEFA Europa League semi-finalist FC Basel. Both football teams had less than half as many votes compared to the hockey team.
Almost the entire squad that won silver in Stockholm except of players under contract in North America was present in Zurich for the award that was handed to captain Mathias Seger by former ski star Didier Cuche.
ďNobody was egoistic and everybody did everything for the team. Thatís why we were successful,Ē Seger said. And thatís why they are the Team of the Year in Switzerland.
Another award went to national coach Sean Simpson, who was named Coach of the Year 2013 after leading the Swiss national team to the silver medals. Simpson won the voting against the other finalist Ottmar Hitzfeld, head coach of the national football team, and Guri Hetland, coach of cross-country skiing world champion Dario Cologna.
Simpson praised his players and the staff, who made the success in Stockholm possible.
Roman Josi, the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and a top-two defenceman with the NHLís Nashville Predators, was nominated as Male Athlete of the Year 2013.
In the vote conducted by athletes, media and fans through a phone poll, Josi finished in third place behind Cologna and tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka. But even without a third award it was a successful ending of a great year for the Swiss ice hockey.