“The World Juniors is very intense,” says Fust. “My favourite moment was the first game at the Air Canada Centre. Seeing the Swiss flag raised after a 5-2 win versus the Czechs was very special. We felt like we made a big statement for Swiss hockey.”
Fust’s love for the game began during his childhood in Montreal and continued after he moved to Toronto and enrolled at Crescent in Grade 8.
“Crescent hockey was some of the most fun I ever had,” says Fust, who played for Crescent’s U16 and senior hockey teams, coached by faculty member Steve Davies.
“Mr. Davies put on his gloves so I could practise my shooting,” Fust recalls. “I would shoot high slapshots that he could catch. I was so nervous. I didn’t want to miss and hurt him. What other teacher-coach would do that for his players?”
Davies remembers Fust as “our very own Stevie Yzerman.” While at Crescent, Fust also played for the Wexford Raiders, a Canadian Junior A team. As demanding as that commitment was, “John always made playing for Crescent a priority,” says Davies. “He was our captain and team leader in every sense of the word. The boys on our team admired and respected him immensely.”
From Crescent, Fust was recruited to play for the Princeton University team. After graduating, he played in the Swiss A League for 12 years. (Fust’s grandparents are Swiss, qualifying him to play for Switzerland.)
When his playing career ended in 2006, Fust returned to Canada and made plans for a career with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. But then he was offered a coaching job in a professional Swiss hockey league, and Fust’s life swung back to hockey. Fust and his family – his wife, Rosalind, their two sons and their daughter – now live in Switzerland for about eight months of the year.
“My wife is really a partner in my coaching career,” says Fust. “I discuss everything with Rosalind and she allows me to see things from a different perspective.”
When the hockey season ends, Fust and his family live near Ottawa. But “there is no off-season in pro hockey,” says Fust. “Player acquisition, media requests and GM meetings keep me pretty busy during the summer.”
Fust says his work today is influenced by what he learned as a student at Crescent. “A positive learning environment is crucial for success and for growing as a person and professionally,” he says.
“The Crescent spirit is something I always refer back to as a model when building a team: strong leadership and a commitment to excellence.”