Ambuhl sets personal record
by Andrew Podnieks|22 MAY 2023
Andres Ambuhl was named player of the game for Switzerland last night for his two-goal second period.
photo: Matt Zambonin / IIHF
Switzerland’s Andres Ambuhl just might be the Benjamin Button of hockey. As time passes, he seems to be getting younger, not older. The 39-year-old ignited a Swiss rally last night against Czechia, and he did so in a way he’s never done before—scoring two goals in the second period.

Ambuhl adds to his IIHF Men’s World Championship all-time games-played record every time he steps on the ice, and last night was his 129th WM game. Yet in those first 128 games, he had scored two goals in a game only twice, and never two in a period.

The first time he got two goals in a game was May 15, 2010, in a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic. The second time came exactly nine years later, May 15, 2019, in a 4-1 win over Norway. But last night he scored twice in a span of just 4:38, the fastest two goals of his career.

Here’s another amazing fact from the game. Although Ambuhl has had a bit of a slow start to the tournament, he now has three goals and four points in six games. Two of those goals, including the game winner, came last night. The other goal was also a game winner and came just 24 hours earlier, in a 3-2 win over Canada. 

In both games the Swiss fell behind 1-0, and in both the ancient warrior scored the game winner against two of hockey’s superpowers. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Over the course of his career, though, Ambuhl has never been a sniper or top-flight scorer. Leader, yes. Two-way player, yes. Switzerland’s answer to McDavid or Draisaitl? No, not really. In his 129 games he has 27 goals and 33 assists, solid numbers but not eye-popping. But his first WM was back in 2004, and since then he has been a beacon of consistency, and a loyal team player. 

And with the fans? Oy, he is number one. He was named player of the game for the Swiss last night—rightfully so—but had he not been there would have been a riot inside Arena Riga. Instead, fans chanted his name throughout an on-ice interview after the game, a fitting sendoff for a great night’s performance.

That good things are coming to Ambuhl late in his career can only be seen as a positive for someone who has given his life to the international game.