Krupp embraces national team experience
by John Sanful|12 MAY 2018
Krupp clears Norwegian attacker in front of the net.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images for Herning
2018 has been a whirlwind year for Bjorn Krupp. Between his regular season in the DEL, the Olympics and now the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Krupp and his fellow German teammates have played a lot of hockey. But you won’t find the American born Krupp complaining.
“We started with preseason last year on August 1 that lasted a month and then the season which was compressed because of the Olympics.” Krupp said. “It’s been a lot of hockey but my body is holding up and it has been an exciting year so far.”

Krupp’s big year has included a silver medal performance at the Olympics. Being in the gold medal final against the Olympic Athletes of Russia and nearly winning it all was an important step for German hockey. Still, Krupp, while proud of the experience, understands that what matters now is a good showing at the World Championship. In a competitive Group B in Herning and a loss to Denmark, Germany has some work to do in making the quarter-finals.

“Everyone knows that what happened in February was great and the whole country loved it but we knew we had to put that in the past and look forward to this big tournament,” Krupp said. “It doesn’t matter what we did in February because it is now May. We are just going to try to keep it positive and moving forward.”
Having represented Germany at both the Olympics and World Championships, Krupp recognizes how different this tournament is because of the participation of NHL players but that further motivates him to do better.
“Everyone knows that at the World Championships NHL players are here,” Krupp said. “The playing field is a little different now. We want to show as a nation that at the Olympics there were a lot of great players from the KHL and the other leagues but we want to show with the NHL players here that we are a hockey nation.”
A hockey latecomer, Krupp did not start to play hockey until the age of eleven. Despite the late start, Krupp took to the game and demonstrated a skill for the game much like his father, former NHLer, Uwe Krupp.
“The more I played, the more I learned and hockey became much more serious,” Krupp said. “When I was learning something new that I could use on the ice then I was doing something right.”
As hockey became a serious pursuit, Krupp began to move around, landing in Ann Arbor, Michigan as part of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). It was there Krupp felt he learned not only how to become a better player but how to be a professional. 
“It was actually great for me being with the program,” said Krupp. “It was the first time being with 20 guys in Ann Arbor where you go to school together, you practice, play games- you do everything. It is almost like an academy. You learn more about working out, watching hockey videos, it is all very professional. I was 16 years old at the time and enjoyed my experience.”

Krupp left the program after one season to play junior hockey in the OHL for the Belleville Bulls. The opportunity offered him a chance to try a different route. Three years with the Bulls, Krupp established himself as a stay-at-home defenseman. The experience further heled him gain an understanding what it means to play pro hockey.
“It like semi-pro hockey in that you experience what the NHL guys do,” Krupp said of his time in the Ontario Hockey League. “You play every second day and are treated like professionals.”
Krupp turned pro in 2011 signing with the Cologne Sharks in the DEL. He spent three seasons in Cologne before signing with his current team, Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams. Along the way, he got his German passport and was eligible to play for the national team, which he did for the first time in 2015.
Krupp hopes Germany will continue experiencing success at this level of hockey but that it depends on being able to compete night in and night out. In looking at where he is now, Krupp knows that a lot has happened in the course of his sixteen years of playing hockey that’s brought him to this place.
“All these years and experiences add up and the next thing you know I am playing at the Olympics,” said Krupp. “If you were to tell me that four or five years ago I would probably have never thought it possible so I try to stay positive and keep working.”