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Why isn't German hockey bigger?

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Old
03-06-2007, 05:55 AM
  #1
arawn
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Why isn't German hockey bigger?

Just curious.
I would have thought it was the kind of sport that would do well in Germany.
I remember them playing well against the smaller European nations for decades, but they never seem to make the step into a true contender for the championship.
I've been told that Fotboll is the national sport, but still in a country with so many people there should be market for others. I've also been told that German hockey import many foreign over the hill players, stiffling developement, but if that's the reason why don't put a limit on it?
I mean, if the tiny Czech Republic can put up both a hockey and fotball team that challenge for championships, why doesn't Germany?

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03-06-2007, 07:53 AM
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Sanderson
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Well, parts of the country simply don't have the climate for it, and there aren't nearly enough rinks for anybody to play hockey in freetime, heck, even junior-teams are having trouble getting practise-time. Not to mention that there aren't any ponds which freeze in winter unless you live in the South.

Hockey is a sport which not many people can play, and while skating is very popular, hockey is simply too expensive in comparison to all the other sports. There are quite a few sports which are easier and cheaper, and football really blows everything out of the water. It's not like in Scandinavia or eastern Europe, were hockey has a lasting tradition, here it's more of an afterthought.
It's not easy to get bigger, when you have football in the way, and you lack the success other smaller sports have. We just won the Handball world championships, we've got quite a good Basketball team as well, not too mention field hockey, Biathlon or bobsled were we absolutely own the place. In hockey, on the other hand, it's a huge success if we advance to the quarterfinal or aren't relegated (mostly juniors), that's not enough to get noticed. Especially if there is no hockey to watch in free-tv.


There is a limit on foreigners, most teams don't have those over-the-hill players anymore. Foreigners are counted on being the teams best players which leads to less Germans playing in important roles.
I'd guess many teams would like to use more German talents, but if they do, they lose quite a lot of money if they fail. Many fans would like to see more Germans, but the majority wants their team to win. Needless to say, if they don't, they won't come to see the games.

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03-06-2007, 08:56 AM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanderson View Post
Hockey is a sport which not many people can play, and while skating is very popular, hockey is simply too expensive in comparison to all the other sports. There are quite a few sports which are easier and cheaper, and football really blows everything out of the water. It's not like in Scandinavia or eastern Europe, were hockey has a lasting tradition, here it's more of an afterthought.
It's not easy to get bigger, when you have football in the way, and you lack the success other smaller sports have. We just won the Handball world championships, we've got quite a good Basketball team as well, not too mention field hockey, Biathlon or bobsled were we absolutely own the place. In hockey, on the other hand, it's a huge success if we advance to the quarterfinal or aren't relegated (mostly juniors), that's not enough to get noticed. Especially if there is no hockey to watch in free-tv.
There is a limit on foreigners, most teams don't have those over-the-hill players anymore. Foreigners are counted on being the teams best players which leads to less Germans playing in important roles.
I'd guess many teams would like to use more German talents, but if they do, they lose quite a lot of money if they fail. Many fans would like to see more Germans, but the majority wants their team to win. Needless to say, if they don't, they won't come to see the games.
Yeah, the attention problem is a big one. Not only most people can't or won't watch it, but whereas you play basketball or handball in school, hockey is nearly invisible outside the hotbeds of the sport. So the kids outside of Bavaria, Berlin, Cologne,... won't grow up with some contact to the sport, so we only have a relative small pool of young talent. And today too many traditional hockey cities like Rosenheim, Riessersee or Landshut play in lower-tier leagues, with negatives like lower attractiveness for kids or a limited financial background.

I hope they set the foreigner limit down to 9+1 for the next step, that would be a balanced way for the national team and the clubs IMO. After that it'll take some years until the teams produce enough young talent to compensate the loss of more foreigners. In the long-run I hope for a limit of 7. Still a complete starting team + 1, but enough room for German players on the scoring lines. But that's a long way to go.

Bah, I just read the DEB newsletter with the announcement of the „Eishockey-Weltmeisterschaft 2010 – ein Chance für das deutsche Eishockey“ – Gremium. That's a nice dream, but how can you build a strong national team in 3 years? It's years too late

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03-06-2007, 09:39 AM
  #4
Sanderson
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Well, we might have a bit of luck that it's in 2010.

The Olympics are in the same year, and they are in Canada. After playing the Olympics, less players will be interested in playing the World Championship. Not that it would change all that much, but it improves our chances a little bit.


One thing I forgot to mention is the way hockey is taught here. The focus is on team play throughout the whole time, not on individual skill, which is one of the reasons why we don't produce many players with world class offensive skills.
We basically traded offensive skill for lots and lots of two-way forwards, who in the best case end up like Hecht or Sturm, but most often simply can't take over a game when it is needed.

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03-06-2007, 11:14 AM
  #5
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Thanks for the replies.

Yes I suppose a competion with other established sports would be a factor, but even if hockey would be like seventh on the list of popularity in sports Germany is so large it should leave a fanbase big enough to achieve parity with say Finland, I would think..

Lack of outdoor ice is a problem of course, but the Czechs doesn’t seem to suffer from that problem. An while tradition is important I would think relative expensiveness of the sport would favour a country like Germany over say those of eastern Europe.

Quote:
Foreigners are counted on being the teams best players which leads to less Germans playing in important roles.
That’s generally a good way to use foreign players , most players gets better when they play with better players, it’s when you fill a league with average imports that your own development will suffer.

Quote:
Yeah, the attention problem is a big one. Not only most people can't or won't watch it, but whereas you play basketball or handball in school, hockey is nearly invisible outside the hotbeds of the sport.
This what I find strange. As I said I would have thought it would fit the German mindset, and hockey seems fairly successful with countries surrounding Germany, like Schweiz, Czech Slovakia and Sweden. I suppose some those have access to more open ice and tradition, but Germany seems to be able to achieve success with other wintersports like skiing biathlon etc, so why not Ice hockey?

Is it more money in the leagues of the smaller countries? Whats stopping Germany from say copying the Swedish model that seems to produce many high quality players from a rather small population base?

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03-06-2007, 01:13 PM
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Actually, hockey is the no.2 team-sport when it comes to attendance, but it is one thing to watch, it is something entirely different to play. Again, there are way cheaper opportunities, and most of them are areas where Germany is sucessful. If you have to choose between cheap and successful and expensive and average, you usually choose the first option.

You can't compare Germany to Scandinavia, because Scandinavia is much colder. The only really comparable country would be France, and they are even worse at hockey.
Looking at a map, more than 1/3 of Germany is as flat as it gets, you can't expect to find much hockey there. The areas where you can find hockey aren't much larger than those in Czech Rep. or Switzerland.

As for why Germany is successful in other wintersports but not in hockey; I'd say that has two reasons. 1) better coaching and 2) you don't need nearly as many people to succeed. You need thousands upon thousand of players to challenge the hockey powers, you need maybe 100 athletes to field strong contenders in the other wintersports.

Germany has a large population, but most of them aren't interested in hockey. Of those who are, many don't have the opportunity to play. The amount that is left is rather small. If I remember correctly, all of the big hockey nations have more hockey players than Germany. 82 million people don't bring a better result than 5 million, if you end up with less people playing the sport.

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03-06-2007, 03:29 PM
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It's sad, but there comes so much sports ahead of hockey in Germany.
Football, Car Racing(Formula 1), Boxing, Tennis, Handball, Basketball, Bicycle racing, Ski Alpin, Ski Jumping...I guess even Biathlon...
From year to year you can follow less about hockey in Germany.
I actually did see nothing on free TV about DEL (best german Hockey League)

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03-08-2007, 08:20 AM
  #8
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German clubs have set a new attendance record this season, but in total number of spectators as in the average per club. The building of new arena's and the succesful launch of the Hamburg-franchise have powered this development.

In my opinion there are two important factors that hold German hockey back more than anything else.

1. Germany has a lot of club fans but relatively few real hockey fans. In other words, there are on average over 11.000 people supporting hockey in Cologne, but how many people in Cologne watch other matches on TV, travel to games not involving Cologne? I was in Innsbruck for the World Championships a couple of years ago. Quite close to the German border. Yet only about twenty German hockey fans made the journey across the Alps to support their national team.

2. Lack of success for the national team. The recent handball championships in Germany have proven again that a good national team is key to success for a sport in Germany. Even though the general level of players in Germany is not bad, just look at the number playing in the NHL nowadays, the gap with the top nations is big and almost impossible to bridge. The bronze medal in 1976 was a huge boost to German hockey, but this is not likely to be repeated.

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03-25-2007, 06:34 AM
  #9
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And it's hard for this sport to get new fans. I know this because I often aks my friends if they want to come with me. But they say: That's boring, who plays 20 minutes and have then 15(18) minutes break? And for a guy who has never watched hockey is it difficult to see where the Puck is. A hockey fan supposes where the puck is, because of his experience. I think a good Nationalteam would be important, because non-hockey fans are although interested in the Nationalteam. They sometimes ask me how they are playing and if they have a chance to win the next match.

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03-25-2007, 06:58 AM
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Another problem is "King Soccer". No sport can reach Soccer in Germany. It's always the same. Monday morning @school...everyone talks about soccer and no one is interested in Hockey. Just a few are interested in it...when they grew up the learned "Soccer > the rest". And i know it from my friends...you take them with you to a Hockey Game and they like it. But it's difficult for them to pay the tickets...Soccer can be watched on free-TV while you ned to pay to see hockey. A succesfull German Nationalteam could help the sport, but honestly were just no. 8 or sth. like that in the World.

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03-25-2007, 11:09 AM
  #11
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I'm not sure it's really necessary to be more popular then football,but the object should be to bring above those other secondary sports. It can be quite popular and still be behind football.

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05-30-2007, 04:43 AM
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The problem with 7 foreign country players a team will be: who should score then? really...that would mean to fill the rosters up with Germans, over the league about 200, where from...? Germany's hockey is also in miscredit by watchers and media because of there economical (mis)stuctures. Every town, specialy smallers in the south, knows the problems with unpayed energy or even players. The managers are often kind of scary guys, that didn't succeed in other sports or branches. And you are right, most people cant see follow the puck when watching...especially after a couple of beers, what they are used to when watching soccer...

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06-28-2007, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Galvin View Post
I'm not sure it's really necessary to be more popular then football,but the object should be to bring above those other secondary sports. It can be quite popular and still be behind football.
Nope, that´s so sad, but soccer is like cancer in Germany !!! If a company wants to spend some money in sports, it´ll always be in soccer. If you want to talk about sports, it´s just about soccer. There is a TV-Show each saturday evenig called "Sportschau" and it´s 100% about soccer. No other sports. NEVER !! They actually thought about installing a tax for soccer so that the german teams could pay more money to bring the stars from Italy, England or Spain to Germany !!! All about soccer, the politics, the business, the media...all about fu***** soccer...

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06-28-2007, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by old17 View Post
They actually thought about installing a tax for soccer so that the german teams could pay more money to bring the stars from Italy, England or Spain to Germany !!!
That's bull..,sorry, not true....no one ever thought about taxes for sports, e.g. soccer

True is, the "Sportschau" on Saturdays (during the soccer season) is all about soccer, because it's the soccer gameday. On Sundays it shows other sport events,too.

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06-28-2007, 04:19 PM
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As a matter of fact, teams in Germany, in all sports, are kind of in a disadvantage, because unlike some other countries, athletes don't get a special treatment when it comes to taxes.

If I remember correctly, England considers football-players as artists, which means much lower taxes.


As for the tax for soccer, never heard of something like that. A politician might have mentioned it once, but they come up with lots of stupid ideas. Doesn't mean that those ideas get serious consideration.

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06-29-2007, 01:44 PM
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Sanderson gets the point (-> http://www.fussballportal.de/bundesl...ars-werden.php ). I´m pretty sure that there was sometimes a roumor about a special tax, but it was a yellowpress-stupid-thing, which was never a real deal or something...

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06-29-2007, 09:45 PM
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I believe there are lots of funding issues unfortionately.

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08-02-2007, 08:48 PM
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Attendance seems to be good. I just wish the national team could do better than hovering around relegation to Tier.II

But seriously Handball is more popular?!?

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08-03-2007, 03:35 AM
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Attendance seems to be good. I just wish the national team could do better than hovering around relegation to Tier.II
The national team should remain in the top division now. There was a lot of coaching turmoil after switching from the successful (made the WHC quarterfinals several times in a row) but outdated and butt-ugly grinding style of Hans Zach to the inexperienced and less respected Greg Poss. With Uwe Krupp now there's a guy that demands respect and can motivate the troops. Also, the many young players brought to the national team in the past years are now growing into their roles.

The new problem however is that we now lose our best players to the NHL. For the last tournament we missed basically the whole 1st block (Sturm, Hecht, Goc, Ehrhoff, Schubert). And this will only get worse.

Quote:
But seriously Handball is more popular?!?
Handball is having a bit of a boom right now because we won the World Championship there. But on the club level, handball is only really popular in the northern parts of the country. Most of the top level clubs are in the north, taking the place that hockey holds in the middle and southern parts. I'd say those two sports and basketball are in a tie behind the football which rules everything at all times despite being one of the most boring sports imaginable.

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08-03-2007, 05:21 AM
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Football is anything but boring. There are some boring matches, but that's true for every sport there is.

The funny thing is, the most successful Handball teams are all in cities where there is no successful football team, with the exception of Hamburg.
Here, the Handball-team isn't even close to beating hockey in attendance, even though they finished 2nd in the championship and won a European Cup, while the Freezers had another rather dull season.

If something is the only big thing over a span of a few years, it's only natural that it's going to be the top-draw in the city, with lots of local support. Now, it's pretty much impossible to unsettle Handball in cities like Kiel or Flensburg.

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08-17-2007, 10:40 AM
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i can't remember where and which national team it was, but there was a national team that competed in a regular season, like a regular team... that might be the way to go for germany, since they have so many foreigners per team.
i'm not sure why swiss hockey has so much more supporters per citizens. i live around zürich, and we don't have cold cold winters, or high mountains... but we have 2 teams, a lot of former and present players of the national team hail from around here. i guess it's tradition and that both teams from zürich have been around for ages.

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11-02-2007, 10:30 AM
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torero
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Maybe the question is TV ! In basketball, the first year, the american professionals played in the olympic games, all the world (actualy Europe for sure, the rest ...) had this dream team effect where all basketball schools were full. Kids started playing more basketball (of this generation Switzerland has even the first swiss playing in NBA today).

I observed more locally the same effect with ice hocke, in Geneva, their was no culture of ice hockey ... nothing. Football was king with 3 teams in Liga A. 2 came down to B or further. The only one, remaining was ok at the time, when they created this Geneva Servette ice hockey team ... went from regional 1 to national B and national liga A. When they went from national liga B to national A, people were speaking about hockey ... amazing ! in Geneva ... they made it, played a year with problems to stay in national A, and ranked in the middle the next year ... since childrens play in the street hockey (no ice, not more ice in Geneva than Paris of Francfort !!) with in line rollers, or by walk, with a tennis ball ... Today schools of hockey are full. in Geneva even 2 other clubs were created ... and they are thinking about opening another "ice halle". in christmas in the city, some places are transformed into ice place ... to skate !!! amazing !

I believe that ice hockey is spectacular, once it will be on tv, it will take off. All is just a matter of time. The stream is in favor of it vs soccer, coz soccer is so boring. (i am normal european and played in a team and watch on tv specilly euro ...) Do the experience and watch a hockey game after a football game. Do the inverse another day. you will be impressed how boring soccer is after hockey. All this really talks in favor of hockey ... so Germand ... in some years ... Hockey will be a good sport .

Yet IMHO having to many foreigners is bad, coz your fans do not identify to the team ... Switzerland has a good equilibrium ...3 foreigners (i would go for 4 or 5 with prohibition of more than 2 on the ice but this is personal) and local players blossom
forced to play with good foreigners.

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Old
11-02-2007, 11:35 AM
  #23
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That's the problem, hardly anyone is interested in watching hockey, and unless you have HD-tv, which isn't all that common yet, hockey is a very tough sport to watch for those who aren't hardcore fans.

Soccer is much more television friendly than hockey and that won't change anytime soon.

Hockey already was on television and the ratings were less then stellar, you get more viewers if you show third-tier soccer. Second-tier soccer utterly destroys hockey and everyone knows how well liked the Bundesliga is.
Soccer is far from boring. There are boring matches, but that's true for hockey as well.


There are soma areas where hockey is very popular and multiple others were it has caught on, but it is far from gaining much popularity if you look at the country as a whole.

The only thing which could spike interest in playing hockey, would be a miracle, like a gold medal at the Olympics. Even then hockey isn't going to get much bigger, see Handball and Basketball after their respective titles.

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11-02-2007, 11:39 AM
  #24
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The former communist regime in the Eastern part of the country deserves the main blame for the decline in hockey there. Somewhere in the 1970's the government decided to stop supporting the sport of ice hockey and decided to focus on figure skating instead. After 1970 only two teams played in the Oberliga: Dynamo Weisswasser and Dynamo Berlin.

Hockey only remained strong in the former hotbeds in Weisswasser, Berlin or Crimmitschau.

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11-02-2007, 01:18 PM
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It actually seems to me Germany is doing very well.

Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Rep, Slovakia have long traditions in the sport and cant be compared. Of the rest, maybe only Switzerland has made more progress, and that's close. They're doing much better than the likes of Italy, Britain, France. Smaller nations like Denmark and Latvia are improving, but generally European hockey needs to have competitive Tier II nations to raise their standards.. its a huge leap to compete with NHL standard countries.

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