BERNE – Are you a national team coach wondering what to do with your players between games in Berne? IIHF.com has come up with five tantalizing tourism options that will not only educate and entertain, but also put your team on the road to success in the picturesque Swiss capital.
1) BERNE CLOCK TOWER
Perhaps your players are taking too long shifts, or they keep misfiring on their passes and one-timers. What better place to restore their sense of timing than the Berne Clock Tower (Zytglogge)?
Starting in the 12th century, it served as the medieval city's first western gate, and is famed for its elaborate clock covered with astronomical symbols. The mechanism dates from 1530, and each hour a group of mechanical figures (including a knight, jester, and bears) come out and move while the bells ring.
2) EINSTEIN HOUSE AND EINSTEIN MUSEUM
Unfortunately, not all hockey players are geniuses. Do your guys take bad retaliation penalties or lip off at referees? Try to boost their IQs by taking them to the Einstein House and Einstein Museum.
The Einstein House (Kramgasse 49) is located near the Clock Tower in the Old City (a UNESCO world cultural centre), and includes the original furnishings and copies of scientific documents that belonged to the world's most famous physicist. Einstein scored his biggest triumph here when he came up with the theory of relativity.
The Einstein Museum (Helvetiaplatz 5) is part of the Berne Historical Museum, and offers audiovisual displays that describe Einstein's life and take visitors through the universe.
3) BERNE BEAR PIT
Some teams lack the animal intensity to get physical. There's no bite to their play. Such teams could learn a lesson or two from the Berne Bear Pit (Bärengraben). Since the bear is the heraldic animal of Berne, this enclosure at the east side of the Old City has long been a popular place to observe European brown bears.
Sadly, Pedro, the last surviving bear in the pit, died on April 30. But a brand-new Bear Park on the shores of the Aare River will open on October 25, featuring a natural landscape where new bears brought in from the Berne Zoo will swim, play, and fish.
Is your team aiming to make a splash at this tournament, whether by winning gold or merely staying in the elite division? Get them in a splashy mood with a visit to Bernaqua (Riedbachstrasse 98), a giant water park and spa inside the new Westside shopping centre, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
Three big waterslides, 18 pools, and luxurious spa and sauna facilities are among the highlights.
5) BERNE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
Usually, no points are awarded for artistic merit in hockey, but the shootout is a great situation for innovation. Maybe your players are having a hard time coming up with creative moves for game-winning shots competitions. If so, stimulate their synapses at the Berne Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum, Hodlerstrasse 8-12).
More than 3,000 paintings and sculptures and 48,000-plus drawings by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Switzerland's Paul Klee bring in the crowds.