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Zoe Merz, active ice hockey player, at Evodrop

ZOE MERZ, ICE HOCKEY PLAYER

A passion for ice hockey

05 / 2023

The subject matter is one and the same. For most of the week, the hockey player is on the ice, she works for our partner Evodrop as a receptionist and administrative assistant on a 60% workload and has learnt a lot about water, apart from the benefits of the frozen state. We asked Zoe how she combines sport and work, what her ambitions are and where she wants to go next.

Last season you played for HC Ladies Lugano, two games a weekend, a lot of travelling and back in the office on Monday morning – how does that work?

This is only possible because I also really enjoy going to work. I’ve always been very ambitious in my choice of career. Because if it’s not possible to play women’s ice hockey professionally in Switzerland, then I definitely want to do a job that I enjoy and that helps me progress.

Evodrop offers this. I work on the computer, but I’m also in constant contact with the customers. I help with the organisation, deal with customer enquiries and have also been able to take part in more and more consultations. To do this, however, I have to familiarise myself with the complex subject of water. A particular sense of achievement: I’ve already been able to handle sales completely on my own.

I’m used to the fact that the workload is rather high, as I already had a full daily schedule during secondary school and my apprenticeship, as I didn’t have a sports solution back then, but completed a regular apprenticeship at the airport. Even back then, it was important to me that I chose a job that I liked, regardless of the double sporting load.

What ambitions are you pursuing – athletically and professionally?

At the moment, my focus is clearly on ice hockey. At 20, I’m at an age where it’s important to gain a foothold and make my mark in the national team. On the other hand, it’s also important to me to build up a second mainstay on the side and to be and remain networked in the professional world.

Would I like to move to a better league like Sweden one day? I don’t know yet. Even in Sweden, the best league in Europe, it’s not possible to play ice hockey as a profession or to be a full-time professional. What’s more, I can also achieve my big goals from the World Championships and the Olympics here in Switzerland.

The OYM also provides me with very good training conditions here in Switzerland. A selection of players come together two days a week and we can train together on the ice, but also benefit individually from the athletics training.

All in all, I have better conditions in Switzerland to pursue my sporting goals and a good career path at the same time. However, I have not yet set myself any specific professional goals.

What I also enjoyed during my time in Lugano was the Italian, which I was able to refine. It was important for me to adapt and settle in well. Besides, I really enjoy languages anyway. I am very interested in languages and have already completed school bilingually in German and English. That’s why I really wanted to do an apprenticeship at the airport.

You have embarked on a dual career in which you are very ambitious in both careers. What parallels do you see in your personality on and off the ice?

I have a very strong sense of duty and am very disciplined. It doesn’t matter whether I’m pursuing my sporting goals or doing my office work.

I think as an athlete you always want to get better and what I do, I want to do right.

Then there’s my reflective nature, which isn’t always an advantage on the ice. Sometimes I wish I could be a bit more relaxed. On the other hand, it helps me all the more in my job.

I also take the team spirit, which is fundamental to team sport, with me to work. It’s important to me that all team members are always informed and that we work well together.

I don’t think my colleagues at work would describe me as loud – by which I don’t mean shy – but simply not the one with the loudest voice and the most speaking time. This is also reflected in the team. I generally get on well with everyone and make friends everywhere.

What developments can you see in women’s ice hockey, or what would you like to see?

The league is getting stronger from year to year and a positive development can be seen, although this always depends on the number of foreign women currently playing in the league. Many established men’s teams are increasingly keen to integrate a women’s team. This helps us to professionalise further – both in terms of infrastructure and financially. It’s great to be part of this upheaval. I would like it to be possible in future to employ a certain percentage of the players at the club. For our generation, however, it’s hard to imagine concentrating 100% on hockey. There would also have to be a change in our minds, as it is unfamiliar territory for us and we find it difficult to let go of the idea of detaching ourselves from the professional world in a certain way. I’m glad that I can still work at Evodrop on the side and broaden my horizons in this direction too.