International Ice Hockey Federation

Double the fun

Double the fun

Sigrists play on men’s and women’s teams

Published 31.12.2017 13:45 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Double the fun
Twins Justin and Shannon Sigrist both have both represented Switzerland, the former right now at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, the latter could do so soon at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Photo: Andrea Cardin, Steve Kingsman / HHOF-IIHF Images
Justin Sigrist and his twin sister Shannon are both prominent members of their national teams, but Justin still has some catching up to do.

Although he played in the U18 last year for Switzerland, and is here in Buffalo playing in his first World Juniors, Shannon has already played in three WW18 tournaments and three Women’s Worlds. She also looks to have a spot on the Olympic team this February.

It’s just not fair!

“I was maybe a little bit jealous when she made the national team before me because she got all the clothes from the team with the Swiss flag,” Justin explained with a smile. “I thought this was cool, and I wanted it as well, but she wouldn’t give me anything. She said it was hers!”

The twins grew up in a small town called Hombrechtikon, southeast of Zurich along Lake Zurich. Their mutual love of skating began at a young age.

“She started skating a few months before me, but when I saw her, I thought this is cool – I want to do that as well,” Justin said. “I started hockey first, though. We were both about five years old. She started with figure skating, and I wasn’t interested in that, so I went right to hockey. Then she wanted to play hockey like me.”

It was easy for them to skate in the winter months as natural rinks popped up once the cold settled in. What’s more amazing is how long Shannon skated with the boys.

“She played on a boys’ team until she was 17, which is pretty long,” Justin continued. “Now she’s playing with the national team for Switzerland and a ladies’ team for the Zurich Lions.”

For most of that time they played on the same team, but she is a defenceman and he is a forward. At about age 15, they went their separate ways as Justin rose through the ranks in boys’ leagues.

They inspire each other and talk daily on the phone, giving each other support and advice, and this closeness so common in twins has helped them develop and reach their ambitions.

“If you play hockey, you want to be good,” Justin noted. “You don’t want to play on a bad team. When you start, you have a dream to get good and play in a top team like the national team or junior hockey and then pro, like the NHL or somewhere in Europe to make a living.”

To that end, Justin moved from the comfortable confines of Swiss-league play to junior hockey in Canada, specifically the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL.

“I think the hockey in Canada is fast and hard,” he explained. “I just wanted to learn a few things other than the ‘soft’ hockey in Europe.”

Still 18, the other factor in his decision was to learn the North American game and impress scouts.

“For sure, I hope to get drafted,” he admitted. “I hope I can show the scouts in Kamloops that I can play.”

In the meantime, Justin is doing what he can to help Switzerland advance through the playoffs at the World Juniors, and Shannon is training hard to be the first Sigrist to make it to the five-ringed circus.

“I think she’ll get to the Olympics first,” he conceded. “I hope she gets there this year. It will be such a cool experience. But she’ll get amazing clothing, and I’ll have to wait at least four years to get my own!”

 

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