The Valascia, home of the HC Ambri-Piotta, is the most honorable home of the Swiss NLA. Before moving to the Valascia in 1959 the club, which was founded on the 19th of September 1937, played at the Pista di Cava. The Pista di Cava was renovated several times but as it was also an open arena without a roof it finally became time for a new home the team of Ambri, a "town" of 200 in the middle of nowhere and three hours by car from Basel.
More than 40 fan-clubs from all over Europe support the team and about 3000 fans flock through the gates for an average game of their team, which only missed the post-season twice from 1985 to 2001. In 1998-1999 the team even went to the finals for he very first time and also won the Continental Cup in Berlin during that season.
A modern arena, designed by star-architect Murray Beynon who already draftet constructions in Toronto and Helsinkio, is supposed to be completed by 2004 in order to replace today´s Valascia. With a capacity between 7 and 10.000 seats the new arena will also be a bit bigger than today´s venue which holds a standing-room crowd of 5.000 and has 2.500 seats in additon to that. The new arena is supposed to be financed by various other events such as concerts as hockey will only fill the place about 30 times per year.
Tips for visitors
Due to the fact that the arena is partly opened on the north- and south-side the away-fans (who are located there) have to bring a lot of warm clothes for a game at the Valascia. The atmosphere is worth the freezint temperatures though; only few places in european hockey can become as intimmidating as the Valascia when the home-team fans in the southern part of the arena push their team to victory. If the atmosphere of today´s games in Ambri will have a chance to live on in a new venue down the road remains to be seen, but as long as no new arena is finished be sure to make it to a game.
Tickets are usually available without any problems. Playoff-games draw capacity-crowds with regularity and at times there are even more than 9.000 people in the arena which only holds 7.500 fans. If you wish to order tickets in advance you can do so by phone (club: 0900-594444 or at ticket corner 01-2256060).
By train: From Germany take a train to Basel-Zürich or Luzern-Aurth Goldau-Gotthard-Airolo-Bellinzona. From Airolo or Bellinzona take the bus to Ambri, station Ambri Posta. Getting to the arena is quiet a struggle and you might not have a chance to leave Ambri at night.
Car: Take the autobahn to Italy (Gotthard-Chiasso). After the Gotthard take the first exit AIROLO or the 2nd one (QUINTO) (bei der Raststätte).
Enough space for cars can be found between Ambri and the nearby Quinto (airport is located between).
Links to the team:
inofficial homepage of the HC-Ambri-Piotta: www.hcap-fans.ch