22 March 2013
When one thinks of countries with a strong hockey pedigree, Germany doesn't exactly come first to mind. But thanks to the presence of players such as Uwe Krupp, Marco Sturm, Christian Erhoff, Dennis Seidenberg, Jochen Hecht and Marcel Goc, the European nation is now making an impact in the National Hockey League. They are just some of the few German players who have made a mark in hockey while playing for the NHL. Football is still considered as the national sport of Germany and the most popular sport played in the country. But ice hockey has slowly gained a following among the German people, thanks largely in part to their success in international tournaments and the influx of players from Germany, making it big in the NHL. Fans in Germany now get to see more NHL games on local TV, and most NHL teams have started to have a huge following in the country.
One particular team which has gained quite a following in Germany is the Colorado Avalanche. German hockey fans have followed the Avalanche throughout the years, starting when the team won its first Stanley Cup in 1996. Fans probably remember Uwe Krupp most for his 1996 Cup-clinching goal in the third overtime of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between his Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers. They have embraced the team by buying and collecting different types of Avalanche memorabilia. From t-shirts, jackets, to commemorative mugs and action figures, people have joined in the Avalanche band wagon. They even have Colorado Avalanche playing cards and poker chip guard available to collect in the market. Just like hockey, another sport which has captured the imagination of Germans worldwide, is poker. Poker is a game that has recently gained worldwide attention because of major tournaments shown on television and the introduction of online poker. Among the leaders when it comes to online gaming is PartyPoker Deutsch. Partypoker is one of the leading online poker sites which enjoy a huge player base and a proven track record in online gaming. They are considered to be one of the best online poker sites, and one can easily sign up and join their games online. Partypoker is also known to have sponsored many celebrity poker tournaments which have benefited many charitable institutions. Sports personalities like Spain’s Rafael Nadal, tennis legend Boris Becker of Germany, and baseball great Orel Hershiser are just some of the celebrities who have participated in these tournaments for a good cause. Perhaps hockey will also catch on in Germany with the infusion of young generation players who are willing to take part in the sport. Hockey’s development in the country is still at a very early stage, and it is hoped in years to come that Germany will join the growing list of nations embracing the sport.
The fact that Germany is producing NHL caliber players is impressive. The increase in German players being drafted and playing in the NHL is beneficial, but there is room for improvement. More resources are definitely needed for Germany to become a major hockey power, but success may breed opportunity and more opportunities may be in store for its young players.