International Ice Hockey Federation

200 is the magic number

200 is the magic number

Switzerland’s Bullo keeps on ticking in Kamloops

Published 29.03.2016 10:38 GMT-7 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
200 is the magic number
Nicole Bullo's proudest moment in Swiss colours came when she won Olympic bronze in Sochi in 2014. Today she wlll play her 200th national-team game. Photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
Nicole Bullo isn’t the most famous person to hail from the Lugano area, but the Swiss blueliner is set to achieve a major milestone at these Women’s Worlds.

When the 28-year-old veteran of three Olympics suits up against the Czech Republic on Tuesday, it’ll be her 200th game in a national team uniform.

English pop star Robert Palmer made his home in Lugano, Switzerland’s ninth-largest city, and his signature song was “Addicted to Love.” The Italian-speaking Bullo, apparently, is addicted to hockey.

“It means a lot,” Bullo said of the milestone. “I take pride in being part of this team.”

She was born in Bellinzona, 40 minutes from Lugano, where she plays club hockey. But her proudest moment on the ice came just over two years ago in Sochi, Russia. The Swiss team fought bravely to beat Sweden 4-3 for the Olympic bronze medal.

It was the first Olympic medal ever for the Swiss women, and the first one in hockey for Switzerland since the men’s national team earned bronze on home ice in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948.

Bullo logged 22:11 in the bronze medal game, and 125:03 overall in Sochi. That was more than any other players except the now-departed Marty sisters. It reflected the trust the coaching staff has in this 160-cm, 54-kg veteran.

So what did she do with her much-cherished bronze medal?

“I gave the medal to my parents,” Bullo said. “I owe them everything and they deserve to have the medal. For me, I have all the memories of that amazing day.”

When Bullo looks at talented youngsters like Alina Muller, Phoebe Stanza, and Lara Stalder, she feels that the future of Swiss women’s hockey is in good hands.

“They all have good skills and are very talented. Even if I'm one of the oldest players, I can learn so much from them.”

While she enjoys hanging out with all of her teammates, she hasn’t had time to go out with them in Kamloops and discover how the skiing at nearby Sun Peaks compares with Switzerland’s famous resorts, get a treatment at the Sunmore Ginseng Spa, or view elk and bighorn sheep at the BC Wildlife Park.

“We did not have much time to go around Kamloops, but I like it here so far,” she said. “People are so nice and helpful. I love it.”

At the end of the day, her focus is squarely on hockey.

Partnered with captain Livia Altmann, she got two assists in the opening win over Japan. Bullo has long been a dominant force in Swiss club hockey, notching a whopping 241 points in 154 regular season games and 55 points in 49 playoff games.

However, she’s not thinking about racking up individual statistics against the Czechs, who were just seconds away from earning a point or two against Sweden in their opening 3-2 loss.

“We will have to be patient, play our system, and play as a team,” Bullo said. “We have a very good group, and this is our strength.”

Those are wise words. Granted, they may not be quite as well-known as the sayings of Herman Hesse, the Nobel Prize-winning author of Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game, who also lived in the Lugano area for many years.

But hey, who cares? If Bullo’s philosophy gets her and her teammates back on the podium here in Kamloops, that’s all that matters. A win over the Czech Republic to mark her 200th national team game would be a step in the right direction.


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