In the end it became support from the state, and sentences like these were said: the men “who had never before had so much on their screens” had “outperformed themselves” and “wowed Germany”. Confusingly, the man, who looked like the Federal President, had the face of a suspicious young man, put on a hockey helmet and was skating on his feet—and he looked like Moritz Seder.
It was because it was Cedar who put himself before the journalists on a diplomatic mission. If one can overlook the obvious accessories given his expression and the seriousness of his voice, Seder revealed himself with the key sentence: “Of course, frustration outweighs that, no need to talk about it.”
Seder, a professional with the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League (NHL), spoke not of a rescue squad in some of the world’s crisis regions, but of the German national ice hockey team’s end to the Champions League quarter-finals. World Cup in Finland. National coach Toni Soderholm’s side lost 4-1 to the Czechs on Thursday, a narrower goal than it was three years ago, but the result was the same: Germany exited before medals were on the line. And that was, depending on your mood, ‘disappointing’ (forward Lucas Rachel), ‘bitter’ (defender Leon Gawanke) or simply ‘disappointing’ (Gawanke again).
The fact that Seider, 21, Reichel (Chicago/NHL), 20, and Gawanke (Manitoba/American Hockey League), 22, spoke here and expressed their frustration, on the one hand, confirming the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB): they are talented young men They are naturally at the highest level in their sport and who, according to self-assessment, are proud to play for Germany. What DEB can worry about: That the guys, whom Cider spoke at length about, who also “inspired us gamers” and who “have the pleasure of being able to stand on the ice,” are almost all getting older.
German players of the highest level for ice hockey
A total of nine newcomers to the World Cup were in Helsinki’s squad – only Tim Stutzel, 20, was younger than Seder. But Stützle, the Ottawa Senator in the NHL, was injured after the third set game. “Tim’s qualities would have helped us,” said national coach Söderholm. And he was right. Stützle is one of those rare German strikers who can hold the disc in the opponent’s third position. “We need more power in our offensive game,” Soderholm said. The match against the quiet Czechs, cleverly set up by his old mentor Kari Jalonen, gave him confirmation once again.
After an Olympic silver medalist in 2018, the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2021, and a dip in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, the German team managed to redeem itself in Helsinki. With five wins and a total of 16 points, she completed the World Cup preliminary round with more success than ever – even if world champions Russia were disqualified, she was a notable success.
“In terms of identity and charisma, we’re on the right track. I wanted to see that,” Soderholm said. Defender Corbinian Holzer, 34, said: “Tony managed to find a good combination again. He did it at the Olympics too, but we didn’t roll there. It can happen. We showed that this was slipping.” However, they narrowly missed the goal of playing for medals by 2026 at the latest – that’s the length of Söderholm’s contract.
The Swiss coach, Patrick Fischer, said during the tournament that his team managed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals continuously for a few years. When he was a national player, Natti was often only lucky to reach the quarter-finals. But ever since they reached the final in 2013 and won the silver medal again in 2018, the Swiss have always been among the medal contenders – however, expectations rise. That’s a good thing, says Fisher.
“We’ve put in some great players, Germany has put in some great players. But it’s practical.” The Swiss, after a few years in the process, first in the group ahead of the Germans and the only team in the preliminary round unbeaten, was also eliminated on Thursday, 0:3 against the United States. Or Slovakia, a bronze medalist in Beijing, “They played a great tournament at the Olympics and are now having problems getting to the quarter-finals,” Holzer said. This means: Medals cannot be planned.
“The goals are there,” Soderholm says. But it is impossible to say when that will happen.” New DEB vice president Andreas Niederberger praised the team for an “exciting championship,” which may have been a bit heavy. He sees DEB “on the right track” when it comes to coaching young players. In sports, it is natural to fall back – watch the Olympics. Young players need time to mature. But: “The day will come …,” said Niederberger.
Soderholm seems to have his doubts. The development of young players in particular is not consistent enough for him: “It should not be a matter of the national team showing any German players who can play ice hockey. It should be done by the clubs.” Söderholm means players like Samuel Soramis, 23, or Aleksander Karachon, 27, who played in the second division two years ago and are now making their World Cup debut in Helsinki. Germany’s youngsters still struggle in the German Ice Hockey League. It’s the old kota song. “When I tell the Scandinavians that there is an under-23 rule in Germany, they think we’re not quite close,” said the Finn.
Instead of an “artificial norm,” what is required is a “will to encourage young players” and cooperation, “that’s what I want.” Other than that, performance in the major tournaments remains dependent on young North American players who just missed the playoffs and are available. Whether they see their participation as a national mandate, like Seider, Reichel and Gawanke, and how long they remain in the championship — or not, like Stützle. Then there will be many newbies in the next few years that many of them don’t have on their radar screens. Because there are no alternatives.