COLOGNE/MUNICH – The German Ice Hockey Association extended the contract of men’s national team coach Uwe Krupp for one year.
The two-time Stanley Cup winner led Germany to a fourth place finish at the 2010 IIHF World Championship in his hometown of Cologne. It was Germany’s most successful World Championship campaign in 70 years.
Krupp asked for time to consider his decision after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks before the 2010 Worlds. Last weekend he opted to sign for another year, but not longer because of his family situation.
Krupp became Germany’s coach after the team’s relegation in 2005 and has the best record of a German national team coach with 48 wins in 103 games.
“The performance of our team at the World Championship showed that good work in youth hockey can bear fruit, and this has motivated me enormously to continue my work,” Krupp said. “I want to credit (general secretary) Franz Reindl for allowing us to continue our path after the difficult situation at the 2009 World Championship and for protecting us from internal and external pressure.
“This confidence was also a reason to extend the contract because you can only work if your are given trust and continuity. Now it must be our goal to focus on youth hockey development in our professional leagues. The momentum from the 2010 World Championship will show whether we can move forward with this.”
The licensing of the top professional league Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) was the other big announcement out of Germany.
The DEL will shrink to 14 teams next season, barring any appeals or legal disputes.
EHC München, the winner of the second-tier league, was accepted as a new member. But the DEL licences for Frankfurt Kassel were terminated.
The league will include the following clubs in 2010-2011: Ausburger Panther, Eisbären Berlin, DEG Metro Stars Düsseldorf, Hamburg Freezers, Hannover Scorpions, ERC Ingolstadt, Iserlohn Roosters, Krefeld Pinguine, Kölner Haie, Adler Mannheim, Nuremberg Ice Tigers, Straubing Tigers, Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg.
The DEL argued that due to the insolvency proceedings against the Kassel Huskies, which are not completed yet, the licence cannot be extended according to the DEL’s regulations. The league also questioned the financial power of the club’s new sponsors.
Kassel was already excluded as a member and shareholder of the league by the assembly a few weeks ago.
The decision was disputed and the Huskies announced that they will not accept the exclusion and termination of the licence. They plan to continue their legal battle with the league. However, both parties are negotiating for a neutral arbitration panel after the lengthy tug-of-war.
While Kassel continues to battle off ice, the future of hockey in Frankfurt is entirely open. The club is still a DEL member, but has no licence to play.
The club needed €3.4 million to survive. While some sponsors were found, the club had a gap of €600,000 to fulfil the licensing criteria. Frankfurt said that it will not appeal the decision and the majority owner Siggi Schneider criticized the lack of interest by sponsors and the old arena.
A possibility to save hockey in Germany’s fifth-biggest city could be to continue with the junior team that earned promotion to the third-tier league.