Say "Hello again" to relegation!
Author: © Che
Language correction: FlyBear
When the DEL was founded in 1994, EVERYTHING was as it ought to be. Modeled
on the National Hockey League, the selections of the clubs had been
transformed into corporate entities, most teams had been named after animals
(making instant recognition easier) and the threat by relegation had been
A few years later, though, so-called "play-downs," as they had already been
called in good ol' Bundesliga times, were revived. (But the two worst teams
of these, Wedemark Scorpions and Ratinger Löwen, won their relegation round
games vs. TSV Erding and EHC Neuwied, so that they were allowed to remain in
In the last few years, more and more DEL and DEB officials saw the necessity
to REALLY revive the relegation format. And during the first days of the
2001-2 season, the league and the association officials made an agreement
about aconnection of DEL and 2nd Bundesliga, which contents:
1. The two worst teams of the DEL will play "play-downs", held in a
best-of series (the number of games has not yet been decided as of this
writing). 2. The loser of these games will be replaced by the champion of
the 2nd Bundesliga.
Sounds quite simple, right? It isn't.
The promoted team has to buy the relegated team's shares in DEL ltd.,
while the promoted team has to spend a part of these receipts to buy the
promoted team's shares of the corporation which organizes the 2nd
Add to that a much bigger problem; the promoted team has to have a stadium
with an attendance capacity of 4000 or more (or has to be able to expand to
capacity before the 2002-3 season starts). Many top teams of the 2nd
Bundesliga don't have such a capacity. That includes Bremerhaven (only
2050), Heilbronn (2000), Ingolstadt (3741) and Wolfsburg (2700). Under the
rules that have been set up, if the champion cannot meet these requirements,
the runner-up can take his place. According to this setup, if, for example,
Bremerhaven would reach the finals against SC Riessersee (with a capacity of
8000 in the Olympic stadium of Garmisch-Partenkirchen), there really would
be nothing to play for (except for the dubious "honor" of having won a
There is yet another problem on the DEL horizon. The Revier Löwen
Oberhausen, who are already playing in the DEL, have a big stadium,
but no one knows for how long. At the moment, they pay about 250,000
Euros each season to rent the stadium but as Günter Engel, the team's
secretary, says, "that's only half of the story." The Löwen don't receive a
share of the receipts earned through food and drink concessions at the arena
and do not have many opportunities to get revenue by selling advertising
space to their sponsors. The result, according to Engel: "We lose another
The Frankfurt Lions and the Düsseldorfer EG have problems of another kind;
the on-ice variety. Both are losing teams. The Frankfurt Lions could win
only one of the first eight games - then they fired headcoach Blair J.
MacDonald. His former assistant Doug Bradley was named the interim successor
and led the team to a victory over the Mannheim Adler by a 2-0 score on
October 3rd (the German national holiday). But after losing at Kassel (2:5)
and against Schwenningen (1:3) the following weekend, the Lions were also on
the lookout for new players. Now they've signed Christoph Sandner (born in
Landsberg, played for Augsburg last winter) and Robert Francz (born in Bad
Muskau, played for the Mississippi Wolves and the Springfield Falcons in
Also on October 3rd, Düsseldorf lost 2-4 against Moskitos Essen. After the
match, DEG coach Gerhard Brunner felt that it was time to quit his job and a
barter was made. Brunner became "coordinator of sports matters" (whatever
that nebulous title means) and Michael Komma, who had held this position
before, became headcoach. Now HE's trying to get along with a team of which
he'd just said, "Many of these players are not professionals." By that, he
did definitely not mean that they do not earn a lot of money!
One positive surprise of the early 2001-2 season has been the play of the
Augsburger Panther, who have earned 26 points (of 36 possible) in the first
12 games - with a team that wasn't even expected to reach the play-offs -
and even enthroned on range one. The team consists of "good old" players
(known as the the "Russian line" with Sergei Vostrikov, Igor Maskennikov and
Vassili Pankov), as well as young players like Eric Dylla or Andreas
Morczinietz. But let us see how long this high-altitude flight is going to
last... it's a long season.
DEL Troubles in the New Millenium
Author: © Che
Other languages: French, Czech.
"Too much is too much!", many people in Frankfurt may have thought on
January 2nd, after the defeat of the Lions against Nürnberg (1-2, with goals by
Martin Jiranek and Mario Chitaroni, after Jason Ruff had made the Lions take
the lead in the game). Two days after, coach Peter Obresa got fired, team
manager Ricki Alexander (who had made up most parts of the squad) asked for
annulment of his contract at the end of the month.
The new coach is Blair McDonald, who as a player lead the Edmonton Oilers
into the Stanley Cup finals in 1981. He is already also busy with finding
the last foreign player the Lions may sign with this season. There are rumours
in the air about Zarley Zalapski, Marty McSorley - and even Paul Coffey!!
Whoever it will be, he will have to try hard to get the team into the play
offs somehow, 'cause the leeway to place eight already contains fifteen
For the Hannover Scorpions, a leeway of eight points even seemed to be big
enough to send their coach into the wilderness - again. Kevin Gaudet had
already been fired the year before, when he became the predecessor and (later
on, of course...) successor of Curt Lundström. But by the time of writing,
it was not yet clear who is going to pick up Gaudet's job now.
As I already hinted in my last article (in November), Berlin Capitals
coach Michael Komma became a victim of conspiracy and lost his job. Just a few
hours before the game against the Eisbären in mid-November. That shows that
Roger Wittmann, the man in the background, is quite an expert in dramaturgy.
But Komma was an expert in hockey! The new coach of the Caps, Chris
Valentine, also is; in his first three games, the his team got seven points (3-1
against Munich, 5-6 after shoot-out against the Eisbären and 6-2 against
Frankfurt) - and reached the league leadership again (which also shows that
Komma's work was not bad).
But in December, the leadership changed a few times - till around X-Mas,,
the Munich Barons climbed on first place (in spite of the injuries of Chris
Luongo, Heiko Smazal, Bob Sweeney, Peter Douris and Mike Kennedy). Meanwhile
the have a margin of seven points to the team on the second place.
The big surprising team of the year are the Revier Löwen Oberhausen.
Having spent years on bottom of the table, they are now on their way up and
already spent a few days on place two. The outstanding player in the team is
Finnish goalie Sinuhe Wallinheimo, who's usually praised for his achievement
twice a week - on Friday and Sunday...
One of the most successful scorers in the team is Robert Hock. He already
played for Rosenheim, Cologne, Riessersee and Heilbronn (in the 2nd
Bundesliga), but is now far better than ever. Due to this fact, during a game
against Kassel there was a big banner in the CentrO, saying: "Löwen fans wonder:
is Zach blind or why does Hock not play for Germany?"
After the match, Zach was asked by a reporter: "A word about Hock?" - "Two
words", Zach answered: "Very good." Will Hock get a chance at the
qualification tournament for the Olympic Games in February? Zach only knows.
Essen's coach Jan Benda senior seemingly did not know anymore how to get
along with his job. "For quite a long time now we're really going thru a bad
crisis, that's why it all is not surprising to me. (...) What I saw was,
that the fans constantly made the teem feel insecure by chanting against me.
The I saw that there's no other way. I just had to get away from the boards,
the boys finally must be left in peace again." After the game against the
Eisbären (2:4), Benda resigned. Essen's new coach, Mike Zettel, is only the
second coach in the history of the club. After the bankruptcy of the EHC
Essen-West in 1994, Benda became coach of the new club ESC Moskitos Essen, in the
beginning even working in an honorary capacity. "Essen's hockey gave me so
much in my time as a player. I simply was in duty to give something back.", he
once said about this.
In the year 2000, people in Germany found out that there are also other
people for which it would be better to give something back: cash!!! And it is
not only the former German Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his CDU party
who evaded taxes. Not quite as diligent as Mr Kohl, but with quite the same
tactics, the Düsseldorfer EG worked for a few years. It would go beyond the
scope of an article like this to tell every detail of the story, but it is
proved that between 1990 and 1998 the DEG did not pay tax on every sold
ticket, opened "black accounts" (as they are called in Germany, suitable to the
colour of Mr Kohl's political party) and often gave an extra bonus to some
players by that money, also without paying taxes on it.
Differently from Kohl, DEG's former president Josef Klüh is remorseful
now: "It all must come to light. I bear the responsibility and will settle all
pay dues." He denounced himself to the police, not to be arrested.
Now there are rumours that "70 percent of the clubs" have these so-called
"black accounts", but there have no investigations on that matters been done
The Augsburger Panther, already having said goodbye to every hope to reach
the play offs, is getting in financial troubles. "Yet the breaking off of
the negotiations concerning the advertising on the ice rink is a hard setback
causing a gap of 130000 or 140000 German marks in our budget." At the
moment, there's no struggle for existence for the Panthers, but Karl-Heinz
Fliegauf's forecast ain't very bright: "As a small club, we'll always have to
fight big problems. In the upcoming season, we'll just have to economize even
more, spending even less money on the staff." But with less money, the
prospects to reach the play offs would be even worse, so they would again have to
economize more etc, etc, etc... It is a vicious circle.
In times of decreasing average attendance, the search for a solution is
like the quest for the Holy Graal. But King Arthur and his Knights of the
Round Table are no DEL team managers. Therefore, the clubs have to help
themselves. Now some managers, e.g. Düsseldorfs's Ben Zamek suggest a play down
round, but not to determinbe a club to be relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga. It is
a mystery to every clear-thinking fellow: partially the same persons
mourning that sixty games are far too much for an interesting regular season now
want even more games afterwards..... but if the fans don't attend the matches
now, why should they be doing so then, when the eight worst team of the
league would definitely only be playing for the "golden pineapple"?
Another recommendation came from Munich Barons manager Max Fedra. "We
simply have too much games, so a division of the league into two groups would be
a useful alternative.... a division of the DEL into a Western group with
Hannover, Kassel, Oberhausen, Cologne, Iserlohn, Essen, Düsseldorf and Krefeld
and a Southern/Eastern group with the two Berlin clubs, Mannheim, Munich,
Augsburg, Schwenningen, Nürnberg and Frankfurt." Playing four times against
each time of the own group and twice against the others is Fedra's idea for a
mode. For a decision like this, a two-thirds majority at the assembly of
companions would be necessary.
Meanwhile the ERC Ingolstadt (so far playing in the 2nd Bundesliga) has
decided to be willing to join the DEL in the 2001-2 season. Sepp Lehner,
manager of the "Ingolstadt Panther GmbH", stated on November 24th: "If we meet
the sporty requirements, we want to be promoted; and provided that we reach
first place, we'll apply for integration within the DEL." About buying the
license of a team with financial problems he only said that it would be
possible, but no negotiations with any troubled team have yet come up.
A VIEW ON THE CZECHS:
Patrik Augusta (Schwenningen): He scored more goals than anyone else in
his team (16), and only the Ukrainian Vadim Slivchenko (36) has more scoring
points than him (31).
Pavel Cagas (Hannover): Not too good, not too bad, but the number one
goalie of his team.
Peter Gulda (Oberhausen): He plays in the second line, he has the
second-most scoring points of all Revier Loewen defenders, and he is wearing the
jersey with #2.
Karel Lang (Krefeld): played only 17 games yet, but his goal against
average (2.54) is better that the one of his teammate Roger Nordström - and the
ninth-best in the whole DEL league!
Tomas Martinec (Iserlohn): plays in the first line, together with Leonids
Tambijevs and Alexander Kuzminski - and he's the best thede three. And the
Roman Meluzin (Essen): "I did not play here the way I can. Ice-hockey in
Germany is not to my liking." His contract got annulled on January 8th.
Jan Nemecek (Nürnberg): His way of playing is not very conspicious, but
makes him be one of the best in his team, together with goalie Paris Duffus
and the Belarussian forward Dmitri Dudik.
Martin Sychra (Essen): could not play for a long time, due to an injury at
his hand, but now he's fine again.
Radek Toth (Iserlohn): still does not play very often, for Duane Derksen
does his job very well.
Jiri Veber (Schwenningen): not outstanding, but reliable.
Josef Zajic (Oberhausen): 27 points in 37 games - and he assisted an
important goal against his ex-club Essen! (In the minds of the Revier Löwen fans,
goals against Essen count twice.)
(20-11-00 Jack Barron) Che explains why, after Augsburg's Bob Manno, Berlin Capitals' coach Michael Komma has also been dismissed (his successor is Chris Valentine).
Author: © Che
Language correction: FlyBear
Other languages: French.
Hockey tradition has it that coaches get fired when matches get lost. Many matches. An unbearable number of matches. But if a successful club wants to get rid of its coach, they have to find another "reason" for it.
The Berlin Capitals were leading the DEL table when the intrigue about coach Michael Komma started. In several interviews, he said that he lacked "the bosses' faith in my work" and he noticed "how the players are whispering about me behind my back." This year, his contract was renewed only because he had lead the Caps into the 2000 play-off semi-finals. Now, he didn't want to wait such a long time again to know his fate. Komma's old friend, Hans Zach, (coach of the Kassel Huskies and the German national team) thought that he had found the reason for it: Capitals manager Rob Cimetta (former player of the Capitals and the Mannheim Adler). He said, "North Americans like him have no business to be here. As a player, he was already soft, crafty, invisible. A coward, actually. Now he goes on like this!" Komma has decided to leave the Capitals (at the latest) after the 2000-01 season. But it's a poorly kept secret that he'll leave Berlin earlier than that.
Another coach indirectly got fired by his team. Augsburg's Bob Manno lost his job on Saturday, the 21st of October. The evening before the Panthers had lost 0-10 in Munich and received the worst defeat in their (up to then) 647 games in the highest German league. Manager Lothar Sigl called it a "plebiscite", when 20 players of Augsburg refused anything which could have prevented or lessened the defeat. After the game, some Panthers fans made sit-down strike in front of the team bus - and the players made clear that with Manno, they'll have no problem losing all of the following 46 games. So Sigl had no choice.
Now Manno's former assistant, Danny Naud, ist the new headcoach. But meanwhile, forward Håkan Åhlund declared his solidarity with Manno and left Augsburg. The Panthers, on bottom of the table, seemingly won't let go of any other players. Sigl: "We won't give away this season, but try to be successful with decency and fairness instead."
The Capitals have lost their leadership of the table, as well as (before and afterwards) Nürnberg, Krefeld, Hannover, Mannheim, Köln and Munich. The top-eight teams are mixed around every day, Frankfurt (in the #9 sport), is watching out for an opportunity. On bottom of the table, Augsburg, the Schwenningen Wild Wings and Eisbären Berlin are in biggest trouble. But the Eisbären have now signed with 38-years-old John Chabot (former Frankfurt Lion and Berlin Capital)! Iserlohn (14th place) is not as bad as many supposed it to be. Oberhausen and Essen, far better than last winter, are in spots 10 and 11 - even though the Moskito's Esa Tikkanen still doesn't seem to be the same as he was during the World Championship in St.Petersburg.
The Moskitos are in mourning for Milan Figala, their former assistant coach. The Czech already suffered from cancer when he was playing for the Ayr Scottish Eagles; but after an operation and chemo-therapy, he felt fine again. But in August 2000, the cancer struck again. Milan Figala, age 44, died in the morning hours of Friday, 20th of October. He was the father of three little children.
A VIEW ON THE CZECH PLAYERS:
Patrik Augusta (Schwenningen): plays in the Wild Wings' 3rd line, but is the 6th best scorer of the team.
Pavel Cagas (Hannover): Seemingly no more problems with his back. He can play again - and not badly at all!
Peter Gulda (Oberhausen): He and Jesper Damgaard are the outstanding players of the Revier Löwen at the moment. Both are leading in the plus-minus-statistics of the team.
Karel Lang (Krefeld): By way of exception, he played against Augsburg, when Krefeld won 5-1. Due to this result, the team climbed the top of the table for the first time since December 21, 1977!
Tomas Martinec (Iserlohn): With 10 goals, he has scored more goals than any other player of his team - there are only 5 DEL players who have scored more goals than him!
Roman Meluzin (Essen): 10 points in 20 games. Not really bad, but not as much as many expected from him.
Jan Nemecek (Nürnberg): Didn't start well into the season, but is getting better and better every day.
Martin Sychra (Essen): 13 points in 20 games..... better than Meluzin!
Radek Toth (Iserlohn): is playing more often than before, but is still only goalie #2 behind Duane Derksen.
Jiri Veber (Schwenningen): injured (meniscus)
Josef Zajic (Oberhausen): Best scorer on his team. In 19 matches, he registered 19 points - as much as his teammate Robert Hock, who has played one more game...
Hockey in Germany: the different leagues
and the "Hammer Huskies"
about German league system....
Preview for a league in Germany
DEL will have even number of teams finally! That is first good
news. The other is all the hockey fans will have a chance to see the
legend of all legends - Esa Tikkanen. He played already in World
Championship in 1984, would you believe it? I would like to see Johnny
Walker in action. If he is as good as the famous drink he must be really a
corner-stone of Frankfurt Lions. The whole Libya will support the newby
Iserlohn Roosters . Why? Che will tell you in the following
article... German league starts today.
Author: © Che
Language correction: FlyBear
Other languages: German
Great events cast their shadows. So, too, does the 2000-1 DEL season, which
will be inaugurated on September 8th, when sixteen teams step on ice to aim
for fame once more.
As with every year, the overriding question is who is going to win the
championship this time? And just like every year, the reigning champion is
one of the most-nominated favorites; a Jolly good idea, because the Munich
Barons still have a great squad, although they would rather trust in
player quality than in quantity (eight players have left the club, only
five new players were signed). Runner-up Cologne is also expected to be
successful, having armed themselves with
titans like Liam Garvey (Nürnberg), André Faust (Augsburg), Dave McLlwain
(SC Bern, Switzerland) and Dieter Kalt (Klagenfurter AC, Austria). The
Mannheim Adler will also have a say in the fight for the championship if
their new aces, Devin Edgerton (who came from Frankfurt) or Jean-Francois
Jomphe will score as frequently as they did for their old clubs.
Jomphe's former teammates, the Krefeld Pinguine, e.g. with their new duo of
defenders Marc Hussey and Claudio Scremin (from the British champion London
nights), are also predicted to play a leading role in the up-coming season.
Some fans bet on the Nürnberg IceTigers, who at least recruited Swedish
national team's defender Björn Nord (late of Djurgarden Stockholm) and
forward Luciano Borsato (former player of HC Davos, IFK Helsinki, Cologne
and the Winnipeg
On the bottom of the table, the situation is quite as unclear as on the
In Essen, only five players (Vollmer, Savard, Appel, Sychra and Verwey)
"survived" the disastrous past season - all others have been sent off into
wilderness and replaced by 22 new Moskitos, most notably, Esa Tikkanen (he
of 1063 NHL games for Edmonton, St.Louis, New Jersey, Vancouver, Florida,
Washington and the NY Rangers). The second worst team of 1999-2000, the
Revier Löwen from Oberhausen, also fired 14 players and hired 15 new ones,
of which the most famous are Jesper Damgaard (Malmö Red Hawks, Sweden),
Leif Carlsson (Eisbären), Andrei Kovalev (Krefeld) and Peter Draisaitl
(Essen). In addition, they are the only DEL team without any players from
Two new teams have entered the DEL this year: the Düsseldorfer EG (which
won four championships in a row 1990-3), reigning champion of the 2nd
Bundesliga, and the Iserlohn Roosters (famous in 1987 for advertising the
so-called "Green Book" of Muammar al Gaddafi, leader of the Libyan
Revolution), who simply bought the licence of the financially struggled
Star Bulls Rosenheim. But while the Roosters have a very low-budget team,
the DEG is demanding - but who in the DEL would not do so if he had a
goalie like Andrei Trefilov (the ex-Buffalo Sabre and Calgary Flame who
took part in the Olympic Games '92 in Albertville and '98 in Nagano)?
Another team which could be successful are the Frankfurt Lions. On the one
hand, they lost not only the legendary John Chabot to retirement, but also
Chris Snell (to the Hannover Scorpions) and Andrei Vasiiev. On the other
hand, during the training camp in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), they knew
how to convince with their new mixture of olf stars like Johnny Walker (who
doesn't share in the whiskey of the same name) or Greg Evtushevski (former
German national player) and youngsters as Leonardo Conti, Marek Sebek and
Philip Schumacher. Patrice Lefebvre, who came from Mannheim (together with
Schumacher), will be part of a glorious reunion: in 96-97, he and his new
teammates Ken Quinney and Martin Gendron scored 257
points for Las Vegas Thunder in the IHL.
Of strong interest is the situation in Berlin. Both teams have problems
the city's senate, concerning the availability of their ice rinks. On ice,
things are a bit different. But while the Capitals have only changed a few
players, the Eisbären substituted many parts of their team; their
new face is goalie Klaus Merk, who played many years for the Berlin
Capitals. Odd.... one year after the Finnn, Niklas Hede, broke the taboo of
going from one Berlin team to the other, there are at least three former
Eisbören in the Capitals' team (Udo Döhler, Thomas Sjögren, Yvon Corriveau)
and two former Capitals in the Eisbären squad (Merk and Jeff Tomlinson).
For the first time since 96-97, there is a limitation of foreign players in
the DEL. Each club may "only" sign with 16 players of other nationalities
than German (next season, the number will be reduced to 14 players). There
are no restrictions of the number of German players. In addition, each club
has to equip three young German players (younger than 23 years) with
so-called "promotion licences", which authorize them to play for the DEL
team and a club of a lower league, and to commute between those two
teams without limitation.
Each DEL team will face any other four times, the 60th (and last) day of
regular season will be March 18th 2001. The play-offs will start five days
later, and at the latest, the new German champion will be a fact on April
22nd, six days before the opening game of the world championship Pool A in
you can have a look at all sixteen rosters in the beginning of 2000-01 season.
An Obituary of the Star Bulls Rosenheim
Money talks. There are many great ice hockey fans in Rosenheim. They
have always loved their hockey team. They still do, even though it does
not exist any more. Money talks. If your team is relegated to the second
level you can still hope it will come back next year. Rosenheim had a team
which was good enough to be part of DEL. But without the money, they are
still excluded. There is no more hope. The history of Star Bulls Rosenheim
is included in this article by Che.
Author: © Che
Language correction: FlyBear
Other languages: Czech (by Vykuk), German, French (by Jack Barron)
On New Year's Day 1928, the first game of a hockey team from the
Bavarian city of Rosenheim (upon the Inn) was played. They lost 0-12 against
Munich. Seemingly still in a state of shock from the result, the EV Rosenheim
club languished in lower leagues until years after World War II. Since
1961, when the ice stadium of Rosenheim was built, the hockey team was able to train periodically. In 1964, the club was promoted to the 2nd division, and when the Bundesliga expanded nine years later, EVR became one of the now 11 teams of the highest league in Western Germany.
Still the club was managed quite provincially and suffered from
financial problems. In 1978, it seemed that Rosenheim's Bundesliga days were
over. Josef Maerz, the president of the SB ("Sportbund") DJK Rosenheim, a
local club then without a hockey team, prevented hockey from disappearing. In
doing so, he was assisted by Guenther Zehntner, owner of a brewery and
a butcher firm.
Not only did they save hockey in Rosenheim, but also built up a top
class squad. Some of the players they brought in included Czechoslovakians
Oldrich Machac and Jiri Holik. They also recruited some famous German
players of the era, such as Peter Scharf and Holger Meitinger. At the
first go, however, the team only reached 7th place.
In the early 1980's, DPhil Pavel Wohl became SB Rosenheim's coach. Karl Friesen was the goalkeeper; Hans Zach the captain. On March 14th in 1982, the team won its first German championship. Having only reached 5th place in the regular season, they eliminated the reigning champion SC
Riessersee (from Garmisch-Partenkirchen), EV Landshut and Mannheimer ERC in the
In the following years, Rosenheim usually was on top of the table, but couldn't win the championship again until March 19th 1985, when Ernst Hoefner (who's now assistant German national coach Zach) scored the
game-winning goal against Mannheim (again). After this triumph, Pavel
Wohl went back to Czechoslovakia and Karl Friesen to North America (where he
had the "distinction" of playing 130 minutes for the New Jersey Devils). In
each of the next two seasons, SBR was eliminated in the semifinals.
Even though Friesen returned from his unsuccessful NHL excursion in December
1986, it took until the spring of 1988 for the team to reach the finals
again. Having beaten Cologne 2-1, they lost the next game 2-5 and
cruised by a 6-0 score in the third game. On the brink of another championship,
SBR players had just about popped the champagne corks. Their overconfidence
cost them. Cologne turned the tables and won the last to games of the
best of five series.
A short time later, Josef Maerz died and some feared that the club would die as well without his leadership. Fortunately his brother, Willi,
made a similar commitment to upholding the quality of the team. The club
signed Dr. Jano Starsi (former CSSR national coach), Jaroslav Pouzar (twice
Stanley Cup champion with Edmonton) and Gordon Sherven,
who soon turned out to be one of the league's best players. After
injuries to some of the squad's top performers, Dr Starsi had to put some junior
players into the lineup. It hardly made a difference. SB Rosenheim was
the 2nd best team during the regular season. Even with the injury
depletions, they were set for a deep playoff run. They beat Eintracht Frankfurt,
Mannheim and Duesseldorf to won their third championship. One year
later, they ran into Duesseldorfer EG in the finals. This time DEG won.
After being runner-up to Duesseldorf again in the 91-92 season, SBR
left the Bundesliga because of a struggle between their sponsor group,
Marox, and the city of Rosenheim. It was forced to play in a far lower league
until the German Hockey Federation (DEB) annexed the club to the 2nd
Bundesliga. Coach Ernst Hoefner only aimed at a position in the table's
midfield; in other words, just making it to the playoffs was enough. By
some "mistake", they reached the play-off finals, beat ES Weisswasser
and were promoted again to the top league.
The 93-94 season began with the "Beer War," in which some sponsors
(rival producers of "barley juice") threatened to give up the team if the DEB
carried out a plan to let the Krombacher brewery advertise its products
in every Bundesliga arena. A court date was set but the dispute was
settled a few month later without the team sponsorships being pulled.
In 1994, the DEL was founded, becoming the top league in Germany.
Rosenheim changed its name from the sterile-sounding "Sportbund" to the more
menacing, animalistic "Star Bulls Rosenheim." The new name allowed them to keep the familiar SBR
shorthand initials. The Bulls were eliminated in the first play-off round in
both '94-95 and '95-96. The Bulls, however, became the league's surprise
team of 1996-97. With new players as Chris Bartolone, Per Lundell, Scott
Beattie, Jesper Duus, Pekka Tirkkonen and Jari Torkki, they became one of the
top six DEL teams. Nevertheless, they were swept in 3 straight in the
playoffs by Kassel.
On April 13, 1997, SBR management once again announced that they would be forced to leave the league due to financial problems. Weeks later, the
league membership was saved; rescued by local corporate sponsors and
individual supporters. By then, most of the players had signed with
other clubs. New players had to be found and a new team was
formed. Manager Walter Schlosser boldly said, "We have the best team
that ever stepped on the ice in Rosenheim." When 24 of the first 27 games were
lost, the prediction seemed ludicrous. At the end of the season, the Star
Bulls had amassed a pathetic 15 points, some 18 points fewer than the second
worst team, the Revier Loewen.
The next year's squad also failed to make the play-offs but it wasn't as helpless as its predecessor. Rosenheim finished in 12th place out of 14 teams.
The 1999-2000 season was the last one for Rosenheim in the DEL. Finally, the financial problems of promoting hockey in small market such as Upper Bavaria won out over the fan's loyalty and hockey enthusiasm. The impending demise of the team had already been widely known during the winter, which is
said to be why the team wasn't very motivated. They finished 12th.
The Star Bulls sold their club license to the Hamburg Crocodiles, a 2nd Bundesliga club, which a few weeks later announced that they were unable to play in any league during the 2000-01 season. (They are now planning to
take part in next season's 3rd division.) Now their former rivals
Iserlohner EC will take the SBR licence. Rosenheim is bound for a far
lower league than the DEL; a Bavarian league called "Bezirksliga."
The last DEL game of the Star Bulls was lost 1-7 at Nuernberg on Tuesday, April 11th. The last match in Rosenheim had been played 3 days before,
when the Bulls had beaten the Eisbaeren Berlin by a 6-3 count. After goals
by Patrick Hucko, Gordon Sherven (2), Niklas Brännström, Jean-Francois
Quintin and Curtis Fry, Quintin scored SBR's final home goal before the lights
of DEL hockey in Rosenheim were turned out— forever.
Business as usual - nothing's like it used to be
Author: © Che
Language correction: Echo
Available translations: Czech
...This might have been the headline for the 1999-2000 DEL season.
Once again one team has folded because of financial problems. This has
caused a new number of teams once again, to start the season. The
franchises now number at 15. The team finishing in last place, is said
to be relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga. This time hopefully all
problems, and misunderstandings will be settled.
Mannheim will likely not be League champions for the fourth season
in a row. After the exodus of the EV Landshut, the club's limited
liability company was bought by US multimillionaire Philip F. Anschutz.
Anschutz is the owner of the Los Angeles Kings, London Knights of the
English League and Sparta Prague and, has renamed EV Landshut to
"Munich hockey club Ltd.". A cooperation with the ESC Munich, a local
3rd division team, was arranged, and a new team was founded, called
"Munich Barons" This team is mostly consisting of 98-99 EV Landshut
Less unusual this season is Moskitos Essen who have entered the DEL
league. Moskitos Essen were the 1999 2nd Bundesliga champions. The
franchise insisted they be promoted to the DEL League, and had
received their license in midsummer. It is believed they will become
the only team not expected to reach the play-offs. In the first few
weeks of the season, it appeared to be a pure understatement, when the
Moskitos were in the table's midfield.
Teams like the Koelner Haie from Cologne, Krefeld Pinguins and the
reigning champion Mannheim Adler dominated league play at that time of
the season and after a few years of mediocrity the Berlin Capitals, who
replaced Eisbaeren, from the eastern part of the city of being #1 of
the German capital. The downfall of Eisbaeren was one of the most
surprising things on ice, together with the one of Nuernberg IceTigers,
1999 championship finalists. No matter how bad they played, they always
could be sure there was one team worse than them. In the first part of
the season, there was the Revier Loewen Lions from Oberhausen, whose
biggest success was there first road win in 21 months, But with new
Swedish coach Gunnar Leidborg and Finnish goalie Sinuhe Wallinheimo,
things were better, and worse.
The Moskitos experimented with a roster mostly consisting of Czechs
and Slovaks players in a league mainly influenced by Canadians failed.
Loewen could make up a leeway of 20 points, and in the end got a lead of
16 points on Essen.
So the best news about the so-called "relegation round" was that it
only took five weeks. The worst news was that it was all played in vain.
The Moskitos sued for their right to play in the DEL next season,
because as a just founded limited liability company they would not yet
have been allowed to play in the 2nd Bundesliga, where only clubs were
allowed to play at that time. That had already been in the offing during
the winter, so that the attendance of the relegation round games had not
even been much higher if Essen had had a little chance on the ice.
The pursuit of the championship got more and more suspense packed.
Behind the superiority of Koeln and Munich, Krefeld reached 3rd place
after the regular season that took 56 games more than ever before. They
were followed by the Kassel Huskies with 12 German players and national
coach Hans Zach. Mannheim and the Capitals, each had 97 points.
In the quarter finals of the playoffs, only Koeln made a three game
sweep against the Augsburg Panthers. Krefeld failed 1-3 in their series
against the Capitals. Mannheim 2-3 against the Huskies, and Munich
struggled hard over five games having beaten the Frankfurt Lions 3-2.
In the semifinal, short work was made of Berlin and Kassel, so the giant
Koeln and Munich could face each other in the finals.
The first game, in Cologne, was won by the home team, who was still
hungry for more. On Easter Monday, the Barons struck back 3 to 2, with
the game winning goal by Johan Rosén. Back in Cologne, Munich scored
three goals and none against because of brilliant goaltending from
Boris Rousson who had been mustered out at Cologne one year before. It
must of felt like revenge for that now. In the dramatic fourth and final
game of the series, Koeln hit the goal post twice and the Barons won
"Munich had a well earned win. They calmly took advantage of Koelns
mistakes. This is what makes champions.", said Cologne's coach Lance
Nethery afterwards. Later on, sharp tongues talked of a purchased
championship, some friendlier characters of a hockey fairy tale.
This can unquestionably be said, of the German appearance in the
B-pool world championships in Poland, for which the DEL took a 17 days
break after the semifinal. The team of Hans Zach won six games and were
only beaten by Poland 6to2 with New York Islander star Mariusz
Czerkawski starring for the Polish side. Germany will be promoted to the
A pool. Not only as an armchair decision, but also on ice.
"No matter if we reach the first or the last place here, that
doesn't change anything of the situation of German hockey." Zach had
already explained before the tournament, knowing that a success like
this year's can't be expected every year. "Nations like Finland and
Sweden have a bigger choice of goalies than we do of on ice players." His
choice of on ice players became a bit larger this year, with a young
forward named Thomas Greilinger, who already was in the national squad
for the tournament in Katowice. Having played for the Deggendorf Flames
in the 3rd division for the most part of the season, he made a few
games for Munich, even in the play-off finals. He is now regarded to be
one of the most talented young German players. And he's still reasonable
about the NHL. "That's surely every hockey player's dream, but I don't
yet think about that. At the moment, only the DEL is important to me."
There he'll play for the Schwenningen Wild Wings, where he hopes to get
more experience than in a so well composited squad as the Munich
The Munich Barons 1999-2000 championship team: Boris Rousson,
Christian Kuenast, Jochen Lehmann; Shane Peacock, Hans Lodin, Kent
Fearns, Jason Herter, Chris Luongo, Heiko Smazal, Brent Severyn, Markus
Jocher; Simon Wheeldon, Peter Douris, Mike Casselman, Pelle Svensson,
Johan Rosén, Bob Sweeney, Alexander Serikow, Jari Korpisalo, Joerg
Handrick, Phil Huber, Wayne Hynes, Mike Kennedy, Robert Joyce, Peter
Abstreiter, Thomas Greilinger, Svend Wiele, Bill McDougall.