German News and Notes

By Oliver Janz

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Bad days for all of us

New York and Washington were attacked by terrorists on Tuesday morning. The peoples here in Germany and all over the world are shocked, too. In an announcement german chancellor Gerhard Schröder told us that this wasn’t an attack against the USA, they attacked the whole world. In the darkest time of our whole lifes, our thoughts are with the relatives of the innocent killed people and with the helpers in these places of mourning and destruction. We would like to offer our condolences to the victims. Let us remember them and their families in our prayers.

Bad days for hockey, too

Saku Koivu, finnish center of the Montreal Canadiens, has cancer. This announcement shocked the Canadiens’ fans and hockey fans all over the world. Many peoples died due to these illness, others, like well known athletes Mario Lemieux or the winner of this years Tour de France, Lance Armstrong won the fight against it. Saku, we all hope that you will win the fight against the horrible illness and we wish you all the best.

Ian Young, a 32 year old former hockey player died in a car crash near Calgary at the end of the last week. Young played for several german teams like Nürnberg and Trier, for the last time in 1999 before ending his hockey career. We send out our condolences to his family and his friends.

We all know at least since Thursday what’s important and what’s not. Hockey is not more than a Game.

Hockey’s Future Germany
In the name of the staff members,
Oliver Janz

Also, I would like to welcome our new writer Chapin Landvogt. Chapin was born in the United States and lives in Hamburg, Germany. He will also play for a hockey team in Hamburg, the Hamburger SV in the northeast division of the fourth league in the new season. I’m sure he will be a good addition for the HF Country Site of Germany. So, please check out his first article:

Some Thoughts On Several Recently Drafted German Prospects

by Chapin Landvogt

In recent years, several young German hockey players have made some headlines in the NHL. The names Marco Sturm and Jochen Hecht surely come to mind. Olaf Kölzig (although not raised in Germany) is the player carrying a German passport that has come the closest to being a household name. The most astute of hockey fans will also certainly be familiar with the names Sven Butenschön, Sascha Goc, Stefan Ustorf and Jan Benda, who have all had at least a cup of coffee in the NHL. The trend of German born hockey players making their way to North America appears to be on the upswing. Nowhere was this more evident than in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft as no less than 7 German hockey players were drafted. Fans of the Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers and especially the San Jose Sharks are surely curious as to who these guys are and what their chances of making the show will be, now or at any point in the future. For these, and all hockey fans in general, I hope to be able to help keep a healthy update of the German hockey scene and its young products this winter, along with my colleagues here at Hockey’s Future, Oliver Janz, Alex Kohler and Gerd Hahn.

So, without further ado, I’d like to use this article to refer to some recent comments from German hockey legend Erich Kühnhackl, who shed some light on the prospects C Marcel Goc (SJS), D Christian Ehrhoff (SJS), D Christoph Schubert (OTT) and D Dennis Seidenberg (PHI). All four of these guys seemed to come out of nowhere through the course of last season and right on up to the World Championship Tournament, which was held right here in Germany. Now the hockey world will be keeping their eyes on them and a few of their other young colleagues this season.

Some of you may not have any idea who Erich Kühnhackl is, or better yet was, but to every diehard ice hockey fan in Germany, he’s a household name. One could even say he’s the Gretzky or Richard of the Germany hockey scene and he places right up there next to soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer when mentioning outstanding German athletes. The current coach of the Erding Jets, the former team of San Jose goaltending prospect Dmitri Pätzold, Erich der Lange (*Erich the tall* as he was so affectionately called) played 774 games in Germany’s top ice hockey league and scored 724 goals while tallying 707 assists. In addition to that, he scored 131 goals in 211 games for the German national team and was partly responsible for Germany’s bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. A very important figure for German ice hockey, Erich is also involved with the going-ons of the national team and with the hockey segments broadcasted by Premiere World, the cable company that televises games for the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) as well as NHL games for the German audience.

In a recent pre-season report for Premiere World, Kühnhackl commented on the young stars of the DEL. This season will most likely see the recently drafted young-guns Ehrhoff, Goc, Schubert and Seidenberg remaining and fine-tuning their skills here in Germany, although both Ehrhoff and Schubert mentioned that they have been asked to attend the training camps for their respective NHL teams. The DEL season has now just begun (on the weekend of September 8th/9th) and all except Christoph Schubert were already playing for the German teams they are under contract with. In any case, Kühnhackl commented and rated each of these four players stating that 5 stars meant ‘Shooting Star’, 4 stars meant ‘Super Talent’, 3 stars meant ‘Hopeful’ and so on.

Starting with Marcel Goc, chosen 20th overall by the San Jose Sharks this summer, the Schwenningen Wild Wings are keeping not only the league’s top young talent in their lineup, but their very own meal ticket in the marketing department. After collecting 41 points in 58 games as a 17 year old last season, the small market Wild Wings team (which has to go the conservative route with its budget) is placing a large part of its offensive duty on Goc’s shoulders. Kühnhackl graded him with 5 stars while stating that Goc is an all-rounder whose whole game is quite developed for a player of his age. In addition Kühnhackl praised his timing and sense of position as well as his maturity, which allows him to be a player who already assumes the role of leadership. It’s obvious that Marcel has a great deal of potential. San Jose is banking on it.

Christian Ehrhoff, a defenseman for the Krefeld Penguins, was also drafted by San Jose with the 106th pick this summer. A young fella who surprisingly earned a job among Krefeld’s top 6 defenseman last season (while also seeing stints as a forward), he scored 14 points in 58 games while gathering 73 penalty minutes. His star rose quickly and one coach even declared that if he weren’t to be drafted this summer, then the folks in the NHL have no idea what they’re doing. We’ll now see in the next couple of years as to whether or not that’s the case. Erich Kühnhackl praised him as being the type of player who always brings his A-game to the rink on gameday and who has an exceptionally good feel for where his teammates are and where they’re going. Furthermore, he’s got effective technical capabilities with the puck and has a frame that he can, and should, build upon to make himself successful. Kühnhackl rated him with 4 stars and estimates that Erhoff will most likely become an offensive defenseman.

The Munich defenseman Christoph Schubert made a good impression in Canada a few weeks ago after taking part in a summer camp for Senator’s prospects. He was drafted number 127 overall this summer after earning the DEL rookie of the year award last season, putting up 11 points and 107 penalty minutes in 65 games. He also played a number of games in the national team. Unfortunately for Senator’s fans, Schubert broke his hand while at the rookie selection tournament being held in Hull, Canada. He has flown back to Germany and will resume play with the Munich Barons as soon as he’s healed up. In any case, Kühnhackl was full of excitement for Schubert’s future as well, boasting about his physical presence, effort and ability to win the battles along the boards. He adds that Schubert will need to get more ice time to help him develop at the proper rate, which will be difficult on a rather deep Barons blueline that also includes another young hopeful by the name of Patrick Köppchen. All in all, Schubert received a grade of 4 stars.

Last but certainly not least is Dennis Seidenberg, who surprisingly earned a spot last season for the league champion Adler (Eagles) Mannheim, on what was 1-9, the deepest defense in the league. After gaining eight points and 16 penalty minutes in 67 total games for the Adler, Seidenberg came out of nowhere to play an important role in Germany’s finishing 8th at the World Championships. He played on the power play and on the penalty kill and helped the team to reach a wave of euphoria for a nation that had just escaped the B-pool a year earlier. Kühnhackl raves about the youngster (who scored a goal this past weekend in Mannheim’s first game of the season) as a tough, two-way defenseman who possesses the necessary moxy to handle situations in all three zones. He also has the ability to make precise and accurate passes, pretty much a requirement for defensemen trying to get themselves into the NHL. He received a grade of 5 stars. As a 6th round draft pick, Philly may really have found themselves a bargain in Dennis.

Thanks for taking the time to check out this article. We’ll keep you fans updated about these and other German hockey prospects here at Hockey’s Future. This season will play a big role in the development of these players and you should keep your eyes open (especially with the Olympics in Salt Lake City) for names such as Daniel Kreutzer, Manuel Kofler, Yannic Seidenberg, Boris Blank, Vitalij Aab, Sven Felski, Adrian Grygiel, Christoph Ullmann, Björn Bombis, Sebastian Jones and Thomas Greilinger, who all may find their way to the draft table next summer. Thanks for checking out this article and feel free to place any comments below or send an e-mail for further questions.