International Ice Hockey Federation

Germans counting on home boost

Germans counting on home boost

Hopes high for strong tournament

Published 05.05.2017 19:44 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Germans counting on home boost
Full house at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne during the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images
When Germany last hosted the World Championships in 2010, they finished fourth. Expectations are certainly high here in Cologne.

There’s nothing like playing in front of a supportive audience. Such support can elevate a team’s performance and have some not-so-insignificant influence how well they play. When the World Championships were last in Germany, such support propelled the native side to the bronze medal game. Although they fell short with a 3-1 loss to Sweden, it was nonetheless Germany’s best tournament showing in some years. Buoyed by fans here in Cologne, this cathedral city on the Rhine, Germany will play for country, pride and standings. The team also has the good fortune of having a few of their NHL competitors in the lineup and possibly a few more on the way should things work out.


Thomas Greiss came into his own with the New York Islanders. He won 26 games and posted a 2.69 goals against average. Greiss began the season as one of three goaltenders with the Islanders. He played well enough that the Islanders waived then starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak and turned the responsibility over to Greiss, who exceled. At the 2016 World Championships, Greiss won three of the four games he played with a 2.50 goals against average. Greiss will more than likely see the bulk of the action here. Danny Aus Den Birken is no stranger to Cologne. Aus Den Birken played with the local team the Sharks from 2010-2015. He’s been named to the German team three times since 2013 but has only participated in two games. Felix Bruckmann was the third goaltender last year and did not see any action. The 26-year-old Bruckmann completed his third season with Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams.


Germany was strong defensively in Russia where they gave up five goals in a game only twice and that came at the hands of the two gold medal teams. Germany surrendered 24 goals in the 2016 tournament. Konrad Abeltshauser scored 10 goals and 31 points in his second year with Munich EHC ia making his senior men's debut. In his first season with the New York Islanders, Dennis Seidenberg scored five goals and is familiar playing in front of Thomas Greiss. Moritz Muller is an active Cologne Sharks player who will be playing in a familiar city, in a familiar arena. Denis Ruel, a Mannheim Eagles product, is a defensive defenseman who should bolster the blueline. Same can be said for Justin Krueger, and Frank Hordler. Christian Ehrhoff will wear the captain’s C for this team but will miss out at least on the first game with an upper-body injury. A member of the Cologne Sharks, Ehrhoff will help this team in many ways. Ehrhoff played alongside Marco Sturm from 2003 to 2005. 


Tobias Rieder put up a career best 16 goals with the Arizona Coyotes. This is his third opportunity to represent his country at the World Championships. Winnipeg born Brooks Macek moved from Iserlohn to Munich last season and tied for second in goal scoring. His teammate Yannic Seidenberg was third in scoring for Munich with 42 points Yannic will be playing with his brother Dennis on this team. Patrick Reimer is a constant scoring threat, first as a DEL player with Nuermberg, where he scored 26 goals this season, but also in his career as a national team contributor. In 29 World Championship games, Reimer has scored 11 goals. Last year he scored four in eight games. Philip Gogulla, a second round draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres in 2005, has had a solid career playing in Cologne. Since 2004, he’s been a mainstay with the DEL's Sharks except for a brief stint in North America in 2009-10. After a two year absence, Gogulla returned to the national team in 2016 and tied for the team lead in scoring with seven points. Patrick Hager was also one of their leading scorers and led all skaters with a +6 rating. Marcus Kink, Yasin Ehliz, Gerrit Fauser, Dominik Kahun fill out the roster.


Marco Sturm breathed life into Germany hockey with his debut as head coach at the 2016 World Championships. With a 7th place finish, Germany qualified for the playoffs and played strong, balanced hockey. As a player, Sturm was a member of the 2001 team that played in Germany. In seven games, he led his team with four goals scored. Sturm will be aided by Geoff Ward, Patrick Dallaire and Tobias Abstreiter. Abstreiter represented Germany as a player from 1994-2004 and briefly played in Cologne from 1994-1997.

Projected Results

Germany made great strides in 2016 under Sturm’s leadership. Now they will hope to continue their rise with another impressive showing. But before the books can be written on this tournament, Germany will have a lot of work to do. A top four finish in the group can set them up for a playoff round clash with one of the team's competing in Paris. At that point, hard work, coaching, good bounces, fan support, and opportunity will carry the German effort. Not only can Germany look at hosting the World Championships as a win off ice, they can also feel good about qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Every building block is an important one for the Germans. 


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