It’s been seven years since Kai Wissmann had the first small point of contact with his big dream. Together with Jonas Müller, another up-and-coming talent of the Eisbären, he spent a few days in the so-called “Development Camp” of the Los Angeles Kings, the big brother club of the club from Berlin.
The two boys from Berlin were amazed at how professional things were going in the atmosphere of the National Hockey League (NHL). They also got to know the area and held up a polar bear jersey for a souvenir photo on the “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood – by the way, on the star of Jennifer Aniston.
Seven years later, Kai Wissmann may still be a fan of the Hollywood actress, but more importantly: he has become a very good ice hockey defender, at the age of 25 he was one of the best in the polar bears last season and then he played in the National team in Finland played such an important role in the German team that they now – although he was not drafted by any NHL club – became aware of him in North America.
The Boston Bruins have signed Wissmann for a year at a low entry-level seasonal salary of $825,000. Of course, that doesn’t mean Wissmann is set for the NHL team in the eastern United States next season. It can also be a tour of the AHL, the farm team league, with the Providence Bruins.
Be that as it may: Wissmann has earned the chance that it didn’t look like for a long time. After the young man, who was born in Villingen-Schwenningen, had asserted himself with the Eisbären early on, he seemed to stagnate in his development in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL).
He was a bit far from the national team, his age colleague Müller was in the German team when he won the Olympic silver medal in 2018, Wissmann was not. Toni Söderholm, Marco Sturm’s successor as national coach, didn’t seem to think much of Wissmann at first either, but that has changed.
Kai Wissmann has had a very strong season in the DEL and was instrumental in the polar bears winning the title. Incidentally, a former trainer of the polar bears, Jeff Tomlinson, knew that something would become of Wissmann. “We’ve got a junior defender there, you’ll hear from him,” Tomlinson once said.
Now Wissmann says goodbye and thanks him politely “for the last ten years” and that the polar bears gave him the chance to play his first DEL game at 17. Until the start of training in the NHL, he will continue to train in Berlin.
Wissmann, who is relatively tall at 1.93m, is an intelligent and fast player who they like in North America. The time of the big edges is probably over. Even if players like Zdeno Chara (2.06 meters) and Dennis Seidenberg (like Wissmann from Villingen-Schwenningen) (albeit only 1.83) stand for a strong era for the Bruins and the team’s last Stanley Cup win in 2011 . But the next title is already far away for the ailing team from Massachusetts. And for Kai Wissmann, the next milestone in his big dream is to assert himself in the NHL.