International Ice Hockey Federation

Muller a rising star

Muller a rising star

Alina ballerina on blades

Published 13.01.2016 10:58 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Muller a rising star
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 12: Switzerland's Alina Muller #19 and France's Lisa Verney #7 skate during relegation round action at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Two years ago, she was the youngest player ever to win an Olympic medal in hockey. Last year, she played both the WW18 and senior Women’s Worlds.

This year, Alina Muller might well become the first Swiss woman to lead a women’s IIHF tournament in scoring.

Muller has seven goals and nine points this year, both tops in the respective categories, and she still has one game to play against France. “That would be fantastic. I will try my best,” she said when informed of her historic performance so far in St. Catharines.

A left winger, Muller will soon turn 18, but she is already a well-seasoned international star. That bronze medal she earned in Sochi two years ago was not without her own contributions. In the final game, against Sweden, she earned an assist on the critical tying goal and then scored into an empty net, which turned out to be the game winner.

Her two events in 2015 will likely be repeated this year as she is sure to play in the Women’s Worlds in Kamloops, British Columbia in April.

Alina comes by her love of the game naturally. Her father taught her to skate at a young age, and her brother, Mirco, three years older, has been playing with the San Jose Sharks the last two seasons in the NHL.

But resume is one thing and performance is quite another. Alina backs up her stats panel with sensational play on ice. She has great vision, blow-away speed to the outside, a great shot, and finesse that even few North Americans possess.

“A lot of players look up to me on our team,” she admitted, “so I try to think positively. Of course it helps that I was at the Olympics and other World Championships, but every player on the team is important, whether they went to the Olympics or not.”

That might be true, but in the Orwellian spirit of hockey, some players are more equal than others. If Muller doesn’t perform, the team isn’t likely to win. Indeed, the Swiss have scored 14 goals, and Muller has contributed to nine of that number. And although the Swiss didn’t qualify for the quarter-finals, they’re in the driver’s seat in the relegation series with the French, one win away from qualifying for the top pool in 2017.

“We are more skilled than last year,” Muller summarized. “We play with heart and we fight for each other, and I think that’s the most important thing. We just have to believe.”

For Muller, that belief will end at the junior level after this tournament, but like other young stars here at the WW18, she is only just beginning a career that will see her play many years at the senior Worlds. Hers is a talent that can’t be missed.


Back to Overview