Aug 12, 2012; London, United Kingdom; General view as Germany brings their flag through the stadium during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Meet Union and Blue's First International Writer: Frank Göbel!

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A few months ago, Union and Blue interviewed Frank Göbel, not knowing he would become our first international writer!  Check out our interview and welcome him to the CBJ blogosphere!

Welcome to the second CBJ FANSided Friday! In this series we will post a short interview with a fan from the Blue Jackets community and ask them about their Jackets fandom. This week we had the opportunity to interview a very unique fan.

Since Union and Blue has been around, Frank Göbel has been a reader. He has also been interacting with us via Facebook since he “liked” the page. “What makes Frank unique?” you might be asking yourself. Well, Frank lives in Germany. As you will see from the interview below, he is probably a more dedicated fan than even myself. Watching games at all hours of the night, and still heading to work the next day. That is true devotion. You may not like to hear who he cheered for before the Blue Jackets, but he found his way, and that is what matters. We also asked him questions about the German hockey seen, to which he gives some interesting insight on. Read on, and enjoy!

U&B: What is the hockey scene like in Germany? Do you have a hometown team you root for? What team is the most popular in Germany?

Frank: 

Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Here in Germany there is one big sport: soccer! Everywhere you go, you see a lot soccer. Every community has a soccer club. I guess we are a soccer nation. Every time a big tournament is upon us, the Germans are the favorite. Right after soccer there is no clear number two.

A lot of changes to our main league cost itself some fans. Now, it’s just normal that the team that ends is last place goes down to the second league. The champion of the second league should have the right to get up to the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga, first league). Since they threw that rule away a lot of people don’t like to go support a hockey team that is down in the standings, they don’t have to fight to stay in the league. Of course, the Calgary Flames will stay in the NHL at the end of the season. Don’t matter where they end up. It’s just a tradition in sports here.

The league itself is getting better year after year. We have better Players. Briere and Giroux played during the lockout in Berlin. And a lot of players pay attention when they have a chance to play here.

U&B: Do you have a hometown team you root for?

Frank:

Of course! The “Mosquitos of Essen” (once my hometown). Right now they play in the fifth highest league called “Regionalliga NRW”. I know, nothing to be proud of. Once we played up in the DEL. Lost three years in a row to cut down and stepped back one league down.

Two years ago I moved together with my now-wife. We live in the Cologne-Erea. Here the Cologne Sharks are one of the biggest traditional Teams! The coach is a guy called Uwe Krupp =)

Sometime we go and watch a home game. But my focus is totally on the NHL and the Jackets.

U&B: What team is the most popular in Germany?

Frank:

As is mentioned the Cologne Sharks are one of the big dogs here. Every year they are a favorite to win the cup. Of course the EHC Berlin Icebears are similar to the Sharks. Both won a lot championships in the past. Berlin won it all last year. The third team that plays darn good hockey is the “Mannheim Eagles”. It’s not that they have the money to buy the good players, they rely on their young German players.

U&B: What is it like being an NHL fan from a European country?

Frank:

It’s different! When you come to the office on Monday’s everyone is talking about their soccer team, “they lost Saturday and will have a roadgame next weekend.” “Know what? My Jackets played two games this weekend and we will battle tomorrow night against the Detroit Red Wings!”

To be honest, as a German NHL fan, you don’t have many people here to talk with about our sport. But now, its a good thing this internet thing is doing well and we all get connected to exchange opinions and talk about hockey.

U&B: How do you watch games? How do you deal with the time difference?

Frank:

For some years now I have watched games on NHL Gamecenter. This is just the perfect fit for any fan. Even when the Jackets are not playing I can watch any game and hope teams like say Chicago or Detroit loose =)

Oh yeah, that’s a tough one for sure! Six hours difference for Germany. Means Jackets 7 pm games are 1 am here. That means I try to go early to bed, watch the game and head right back to bed for two hours to be ready for work. Friends asked me why in the world I do this. “Hey, it’s Jackets NHL hockey! What more can I say?!” I try to see all the games, but sometimes, when i’m out at night its hard to watch the game. But its a good thing I have Gamecenter to see the game the next morning. But games like against Boston at 2 pm are a gift for me. It means Saturday evening at 8 pm a hockey game. Beer, Nachos, just great!
U&B: Why did you choose to cheer on the Blue Jackets? Who is your favorite Blue Jackets player?
Frank: 
Jody Shelley (45) Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports

Jody Shelley (45)
Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s a bigger story. See, I was long time a Los Angeles Kings fan. For many years, even the bad years where they missed the postseason by a mile! Two years ago, as you may know, they won the Cup. Wow! What a feeling! But right after that everyone was a Kings fan. True thing, I never saw so many people wearing a cap or a sweater and saying how long they have been a Kings fan.

I had enough of South California. I thought about moving to another team. Vancouver? Please! Detroit? Oh my…! No, somehow I thought about Columbus. A franchise still searching for an identity, but wasn’t short on hockey players that work hard.Perfect, as soon I thought about it I liked them on Facebook and get familiar with the team and coaches and all. And I mean, common, the jersey! Great looking logo!
Before I was a Jacketsfan there was a player I loved to see: Jody Shelley! What a warrior!
U&B: How do you think CBJ will do this season? Will they make the playoffs?
Frank: 
I think, no, I know that every player who puts on this Jackets sweater will do everything they can to win the games. We have a great group of players this year!
Will be a tough battle, but YES!

Everyone here at Union and Blue sends our thanks over the pond to Frank. What a stand-up guy, make sure to converse with him on Facebook, he always has good insight on the Blue Jackets.

Thanks a lot Frank, we really appreciate it!
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