Talented netminder Pauli Jaks helped to put Switzerland on the hockey map in the 1990s. His outstanding play on the international stage improved the fortunes of the Swiss in the IIHF rankings and gave the hockey community its first star from this country. Jaks' style of netminding was based in part on the NHL keeper he admired most, Patrick Roy.
Born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Jaks starred in the domestic league as a teenager with the Ambri-Piotta. He backstopped his country to an impressive seventh place showing in the 1990-91 World Junior Championships. Jaks was presented the IIHF Directorate award as the top goalie and was placed on the tournament all-star team. The next year the Swiss iced a weaker team and, despite Jaks' brilliance, finished eighth and were relegated to "B Pool the following year.
In 1991, the Los Angeles Kings selected Jaks 108th overall in the Entry Draft. He played two years with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the IHL and saw two periods of action for L.A. during the 1994-95 season. In 1993-94 he led the IHL with a 7-1 record in shootouts. Discouraged with the lack of progress in his NHL career, Jaks returned to Switzerland to play for Ambri-Piotta in 1995-96.