Moritz Seider turned 21 a month ago. And visually, in the online conversation on Sunday afternoon, with the black cap that he is wearing upside down and the shaggy hair peeking out from under, he does not look like one of the undisputed leaders of the German national ice hockey team at the World Cup in Finland. All the more impressive is the maturity that the defender exudes on the ice in his third A World Championship.

The first two appearances in Helsinki already revealed the extraordinary qualities of Seider, who was born in Zell an der Mosel, later matured into one of the greatest German ice hockey talents in Mannheim and was so convincing in his first NHL season for the Detroit Red Wings that shortlisted for the Calder Trophy, which recognizes the best rookie in the North American professional league. “I just try to put my teammates in the limelight. Sometimes that sounds better, sometimes worse,” Seider tries to explain his overmaturity. “I simply had the privilege of being able to play with very good and experienced players at an early stage.”

In the first World Cup appearance on Friday against Canada (3:5), Seider impressed with one goal and two assists, but the DEB team only really took off in the last third. Just one day later, in the very important 2-1 win against Slovakia, Seider embodied the game that has distinguished Germany on the World Cup stage for several years. “Our virtues came to the fore more than in the Canada game.” Germany is the clear favorite against France on Monday (7:20 p.m.). Seider knows: “We aspire to be among the top six in the world.”

Which is due to the remarkable quality in the German team. With keeper Philipp Grubauer, striker Tim Stützle and Seider, there are three professionals in the World Cup team who also enjoy the highest reputation in North America. “Anyone who is in our situation would also love to play the NHL playoffs,” says Seider, “but we all associate the invitation to the national team with great reverence.”

Before showing up for this online meeting, Seider watched key scenes from the crucial seventh game between Edmonton and the Los Angeles Kings, in which national teammate Leon Draisaitl qualified with the Oilers for the next round of the playoffs.

Seider is not too frustrated that he has not yet enjoyed it himself. “The fun of being here clearly outweighs it. Unfortunately, it was clear early on that we wouldn’t make the play-offs.” Although he scored 50 points in 82 games – an enormous number for a defender in his first season at the highest level.

Seider draws great motivation from the consistently good experiences he has with the national team. In 2019, at its World Cup premiere, the team in Slovakia already played well, but then failed a little in the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic. After the compulsory Corona break in 2020, there was not much missing for a medal last year. And after just a few days, Seider felt the spirit that characterizes this team. “Everyone has had a really long season, some have just come straight from the play-offs and have had rock-hard preparation in their legs,” says Seider. “Nevertheless, everyone tears their hearts out of their souls to be able to play for Germany.”

After two years with strict requirements as far as contact outside the ice is concerned, Seider is enjoying getting to know one or the other teammates even better. “We have a lot of stories to tell,” says the defender. Which is particularly true of himself – at just 21 years old.