It’s official. The DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) announced last week that they will have their second Open-Air outdoor hockey game on January the 10th 2015!
And as if that is not enough, the pairing couldn’t be better (for me). The Düsseldorfer EG (English: Duzzledorf) will take on the Cologne Sharks. Calling this a simple rivalry isn’t enough. With only 25 miles between these two cities we are talking about hard fights on the ice every time they meet!
The game will take stage at the Esprit-Arena, which was originally the home of the soccer club “Fortuna Düsseldorf”. 54.600 people will get the chance to be in the arena witness this game.
I’m very happy to see that we continue to bring hockey forward here in Germany. The first Open-Air Game was in Nürnberg. The Ice Tigers hosted the Berlin Ice-Bears on January the 5th in 2013 at the Easycredit-Arena of the (again) Soccerclub 1.FC Nürnberg. The Ice Tigers defeated Berlin 4-3 in an outstanding game.
Nearly 50.000 fans saw the first hockey game in a soccer-arena. And for a moment, hockey was number one in German sports news. This kind of event was new for us. Sure, the NHL had their “Winter-Classics” but I never thought it could be possible here.
Having the second Outdoor-game here in Germany is a gift for me. Duzzledorf is not that far away from me and so I will take to the road in 2015 to go to the game. I have always supported the Cologne Sharks and beating the “forbidden” city will be a milestone for Cologne.
I think everyone in this is a winner. You bring more people to hockey and that’s the job the league needs to do. The ticket prices are not cheap. I know from experience. I understand that some would rather watch it on TV or spend the Sunday with the family, but not me!
But with these two Hockey-Open-Air-Games I almost forgot the first real Hockey-Event we had here.
It was 2010 and Germany was host of the IIHF World Championship. During the opening game, Germany took on the USA at Soccer-Arena “Auf Schalke”. Over 70.000 Fans watched as they defeated the US-Boys 2-1 in overtime!
And three names should ring a bell for you: Captain Jack Johnson (At that time a member of the Los Angeles Kings), Nick Foligno (Ottawa Senators) and, hold on, Brandon Dubinsky as a part of the New York Rangers Organization. They all played at that high skilled game. A memory these players will never forget!
Three Columbus Blue Jackets who I barely saw in a Columbus Uniform at that time. But never say never!