Current and Former Flyers are The Toast of Germany
It’s something special when a televised sports show, that’s usually not into hockey, more into soccer, invites three hockey players on to have a nice talk. Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc were at the very popular "Aktuelle Sportstudio" They were talking about the lockout, the national team and hockey in the DEL. Even the daily news were reporting about the signing of Philadelphia Flyers teammates Danny Briere and Claude Giroux. Hockey is all of the sudden a big deal in Germany and the players just enjoy it.
Briere and Giroux had some problems with the system of Eisbären Berlin Coach Don Jackson in first game, a 5-6 loss against the Cologne Sharks, but in their second game, they were on fire. The impressive stats: Two games together 13 points (Briere: 3 goals, 4 assists Giroux: 1 Goal, 4 assists).
"They are like a present for the German hockey,"said Berlins GM Peter-John Lee.
And not just in Berlin, everybody is excited about hockey. The same situation is happening in Hamburg. Jamie Benn only needed 60 minutes, to become the crowd favourite. After his first game, the fans were singing "Jamie is a Hamburger", which doesn’t mean that he is a like a burger-sandwich. In German it means he is one of us. "That was crazy, to make a celebration wave with the fans. I never did that before. The crowd here is different, but so cool", says Benn. "I really enjoy playing in the DEL. There’s a lot of competition and talent in this league. I would recommend this League to all of my NHL buddies," Benn said in the hamburger abendblatt newspaper."
He is playing for a team, that has a lot of NHL experience. Christoph Schubert, former Player of the Ottawa Senators, Matt Pettinger (Washington Capitals), Serge Aubin (Columbus Blue Jackets), Duvie Westcott (Columbus), Mathieu Roy (Edmonton Oilers), Brandon Reid (Vancouver) and Rob Collins (New York Islanders) are all teammates.
"It´s a very skilled team and it was so easy to become a part of that group. Everyone is so nice to me. It helps me a lot," says Benn.
In every practice, in every game, you can see how much he is enjoying his time in Hamburg. He is joking around with every player, he has no superstar attitude at all. "That’s what I like the most about Jamie", says Coach Benoit Laporte. "He makes the other players better and he is great person. We are proud, to have him in Hamburg."
The Jersey with the number 24 is very popular in the Freezers Merchandising Shop.
It’s the same Situation in Mannheim, where Goc and Seidenberg signed a contract. Every summer, Goc is spends his offseason in Mannheim. So it was like coming home for Florida Panthers forward. And Seidenberg said that it´s helpful for him, to speak German, because he wasn´t in Germany for so many years, so it´s not easy for him to remember all the German words.
In Krefeld, the Penguins signed Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, he is a local hero. The fans love the guy and Ehrhoff is proud about his city. He won the German championship in 2003. And the city will never forget that special moment. "When I heard, that there was a lockout, it was sure, that I was going to Krefeld. That´s the only club, I want to play for in Germany," says Ehrhoff.
If you ask the German hockey fans they would love to see the big names for the whole season. But it looks like, that the lockout will come to an end. But it was a big deal for everyone who loves hockey.
And some Players even went to the second league of Germany. Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart signed at Crimmitschau in the eastern part of Germany. Just because he wanted to play with his buddy. Funny Story; In the league game vs. Bremerhaven, young forward Ralf Rinke instigated a big fight with Simmonds. The NHL player needed only a couple of punches to beat the small forward. But Rinke was so proud, he said. "I will show this fight to my grand children in 50 years. That was a once in lifetime opportunity," He didnt get injured that bad, but he looked like a guy who got hit by a train. He now has a big black eye. But he was happy to have a fight with a big guy from the NHL.
photo by del Tufo.