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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. Most of the week, hockey player Zoe Merz is on the ice. She works for our partner Evodrop AG as a 60% receptionist and administrative assistant and has learned a lot about water, apart from the advantages of the frozen state. We asked how Zoe combines sport and job, what her ambitions are and where she wants to go.
During the last season you played for HC Ladies Lugano, two games each weekend, a lot of travelling and back to the office on Monday morning – how does that work?
It’s only possible because I also love going to work. I have 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 develop.
This is the case at Evodrop. I work on the computer, but I also have contact with the customers all the time. I help out in the organisation, deal with customer enquiries and have also been allowed to participate more and more in consultations. But for that, I also have to get to know the complex matter of water very well. A special sense of achievement: In the meantime, I have also been able to handle sales completely on my own.
I’m used to the fact that the workload is rather high, because even during secondary school and my apprenticeship I had a full daily schedule, because at that time I didn’t have a sports solution but a regular apprenticeship at the airport. Even then, it was important for me to choose a profession that I liked, regardless of the double sporting load.
What ambitions are you pursuing – sporting and professional?
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 on the national team. On the other hand, it’s also important for me to build up a second leg on the side and to be and remain networked in the professional world.
Would I like to move to a better league, like Sweden, for example? 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 professional. In addition, 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. Two days a week, a selection of players come together and we can train together on the ice, but also benefit individually from athletic 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 haven’t set myself any concrete professional goals yet.
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’m very interested in languages and already went to 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 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, but that’s not 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.
The team spirit, which is fundamental in team sports, is something I also take with me to work. It is 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 speech. This is also reflected in the team. I basically get along well with everyone and find connections everywhere.
What development can you observe in women’s ice hockey, or what do you wish for?
The league is getting stronger every year and there is a positive development, but it always depends on the number of foreign women playing in the league.
Many established men’s teams want to integrate a women’s team more and more. This helps us to further professionalise ourselves – in terms of infrastructure as well as financially. It’s nice to be part of this upheaval. I would like it to be possible in the future to employ a certain percentage of the players at the club. For our generation, however, it is hardly conceivable to concentrate 100% on hockey. There would have to be a change in our minds as well, because it’s unfamiliar territory for us and we find it hard to get away from the idea of detaching ourselves from the professional world in a certain way. I am glad that I can still work at Evodrop on the side and expand my horizons in that direction as well.