Three Grasshopper Floorball players, Christoph Meier, Claudio Laely and Tobias Heller, announce their retirement as floorball players. All three have decided that the season with the home World Floorball Championships (WFC) was the last one of their careers.

Christoph Meier has been with the national team the longest: after his international debut in 2011, he received his first WFC call-up in 2014. Since then, he has taken part in every WFC, won two WFC bronze medals and one silver medal at the World Games, and developed into a top performer and reliable scorer. He played a total of 79 international games and scored just as many points. The fact that he was able to play floorball for so long is not a matter of course. Due to cartilage damage in his knee in 2017, doctors told him that he could no longer play a competitive sport. This was his most formative moment in his career: “It was clearly shown to me how important health is. Luckily, our first child was just born and I was extremely motivated to fight my way back so my son could still see me play.” But now the 31-year-old wants to spend more time with his wife and two children. Meier played for two seasons with Bülach Floorball in the NLB before playing for GC Unihockey for 15 seasons without a break from the 2008/09 season. His first Cup win in 2011 and his first championship title in 2016 are some of the most memorable in his career. In his final season, he was ranked the tenth best player in the world by Swedish internet portal Innebandymagazinet.

Photo: Fabrice De Gasperis

For teammate Claudio Laely, who is a year younger, the time was also right to retire: “It was already in the back of my mind throughout the season. I was able to play 15 seasons in the highest Swiss league and with the double win and the home World Chmapionships as the highlight, it’s so right for me.” The Grisons native started his career as a kid with the Iron Marmots Davos Klosters and moved to Alligator Malans as a junior. “I developed there from a junior to a top performer and captain and was allowed to achieve a lot by winning the championship and the Cup. The switch to GC in 2017 was very drastic.” In his first season with the Zurich club, he broke his ankle for the third time. The change to GC in 2017 was very drastic. In his first season with the Zurich club, he broke his ankle for the third time. He made his debut in the national team in 2013 and received his first WFC call-up three years later in Riga. He counts the four World Championships, in which he won bronze twice, among his career highlights. He also won a silver medal at the World Games. In total, Laely played 87 times for the Swiss national team – only 16 Swiss players have played more international matches.

Photo: Fabrice Duc

Tobias Heller is the youngest of the three players to end his career. “My wish was always to be able to decide when my career ends, i.e. to be healthy and at a good playing level,” says the 29-year-old. Last season, one highlight followed the other, which was great on the one hand, but also time-consuming as a semi-professional. “I realised that I was no longer prepared to invest all my time in the sport.” He joined GC Unihockey from the Kloten-Bülach Jets for the 2018/19 season and is thus also one of the double winners in 2021/22.
The defender with plenty of offensive drive caught the eye of then national coach in 2017 and his international debut was followed by his first finals appearance and his first bronze medal at the World Floorball Championships in Prague a year later. He says this WFC campaign was particularly memorable for him, partly because of the victory in his third international match against Sweden in Kirchberg in 2017 and partly because of the great atmosphere at the WFC itself. Two more finals followed and at the home World Championships last November he was honoured for his 50th international match.

Photo: Fabrice de Gasperi

Source: Swiss unihockey


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