The german ice hockey association (DEB) is facing perhaps the most important germany cup ever. For the first time, the fuss was allowed to become more important than the games in the traditional four-nation tournament itself.
After the surprising departure, at least in terms of timing, of national coach marco sturm to north america, elementary matters are to be discussed this weekend in krefeld. "This weekend we will discuss our future," DEB president franz reindl told the german press agency dpa. It’s all about strategy in the search for a successor for sturm.
You could also say that the future of the upswing in german ice hockey depends on the languages used. Whether reindl can continue to pursue his ambitious goal of competing sustainably for medals in major tournaments by 2026. Since sunday evening, there are again more serious doubts about it. "The recovery is in danger," former national team captain alois schloder told dpa.
The night before, los angeles of the north american professional league nhl announced that sturm would become the new assistant coach of the currently worst team in the world’s best league. Untimely for the DEB four days before the start of the germany cup in krefeld (8. Until 11. November). And contrary to the agreement. Originally, the "sad affair", according to schloder, was to be announced only one day later.
"You can’t stop him then," reindl said about letting the coach – the face – of germany’s most successful national team ever this year go, despite a contract until 2022.
As national coach from olympic runner-up to co-coach – outsiders may find that surprising. Sturm sees this as a chance for a rough coaching career in the NHL, where he is the german record player with 1006 games played. "A german coach in the NHL is of course awesome," admitted schloder (71).
The captain of the team that won bronze in the 1976 olympics and thus achieved the greatest german ice hockey success until february of this year, knows sturm well and can understand the 40-year-old. "The whole environment in LA is glamour and glitter."That alone was hardly the reason for sturm’s last-minute decision at the weekend. After the olympic silver sensation in pyeongchang in february, sturm had always stressed that he wanted to go back to north america if a suitable offer came along. Also for family reasons.
Last year, sturm left the u.S. With his family because of the national coaching job, which was a problem especially for the twelve and 14-year-old children who grew up in north america. These changed in the summer of landshut to munchen on the international school. Things were better, but far from perfect. Sturm did not want to turn down the offer from the kings for this reason, even though he himself is aware that the DEB now has a problem.
No one at the association had expected his most important employee to leave before the end of the season. With sturm, direct olympic qualification for peking 2022 should be made perfect. Germany had to be among the top eight in the world after the 2019 world cup in slovakia. This most important goal of the current world number eight must now be achieved by someone else.
Only those who? "We have no time pressure there. For now, only the germany cup is paying, then we’ll start probing," said reindl. Sturm’s successor is also to be a german again. Automatic candidates like pavel gross (mannheim), former national coach uwe krupp (sparta prague) or his assistant at the time harold kreis (dusseldorf) are under contract with clubs.
In krefeld, reindl wants and needs to coordinate with his prasidium colleagues and sport director stefan schaidnagel. "It won’t be easy," predicted schloder. "Marco was the figurehead of the past years. That’s a serious break." Schloder recommended reindl therefore to set with the league uber a "transitional solution" of "one, two DEL coaches" and named just gross and circle.
The search for a successor is also complicated by the following circumstances. After the olympics, long-serving leading players like christian ehrhoff, marcel goc and patrick reimer have already stepped back. The new one will be measured against sturms without these pruning measures with a younger team.
Sturm gave the national team a will to win that had never existed before, even against tough nations. Already legendary is the whatsapp group of the national players of olympia 2018, who titled leadership figures like ehrhoff with "mission gold". In earlier years under national coaches like hans zach, this would have been unthinkable. This was the only way to develop the spirit that almost led the team to olympic gold.