Holding the Olympic Games and a World Championship three months apart is by no means a new phenomenon in ice hockey. Also not unknown is the criticism of such a mode, which is aimed on the one hand at the burden on the players and on the other hand at the question of the value of such a major event, which takes place in Europe after the knockout phase and in North America takes place in the middle of the playoffs.
In terms of stress, the World Cup in Finland will be a novelty starting this Friday. Never before have the hot phase of the league, the Olympics and a World Cup had to be reconciled with the framework conditions of a pandemic. The Berlin Olympic participants Jonas Müller, Marcel Noebels, Leo Pföderl and Mathias Niederberger, even if he will soon be a Munich resident, had to complete a tough program before the play-offs in the DEL due to numerous missed games in winter, and then came up with an almost inhuman schedule to survive the way to the title.
They also had to end the championship celebrations earlier in order to be able to train at least a little with their colleagues from the national team. All of this is the opposite of sensible preparation for a World Cup.
However, it will be exciting to see how the DEB team reacts to the rather embarrassing early end of the Olympic Games. World championships under the direction of national coach Toni Söderholm have recently stood for highly emotional performances that almost led to a medal last year. And despite all the hardships of recent times, the prospects for the quarter-finals are dazzling given the competition in the group. And so the chances are not bad that another wave of ice hockey enthusiasm will sweep through the country.
And although numerous greats of the North American professional league NHL are missing, the squads are far better filled than at the Olympics. World Cup debutant Tim Stützle and Moritz Seider as well as goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer enrich the German team enormously. In front of a Finnish ice hockey enthusiastic backdrop, this tournament can still prove to be a real eye-catcher despite all the justified criticism.