Isabren Berlin has not yet sent a master medal to Canada. Leon Gavanke says, “I don’t know if I’ll get one.” The 21-year-old, who grew up in Bergfeld (Oberhavel), played six games in the German Ice Hockey League at the start of the season, the future German ice hockey champion, on loan from Winnipeg for his youth club. “I would not even say that I contributed much to the title and I was entitled to a medal.”
He could hold it in Latvia with the eagle on his chest. The Ice Hockey World Championship starts in Riga starting this Friday. Gawanke is one of three players active in North America in the 27-strong squad of national coach Tony Soderholm for the tournament in the Baltic states. In Winnipeg, Canada, Gavanke is on the ice for Manitoba Moose in an otherwise second-class AHL league, with the rights being held by NHL club Winnipeg Jets. His dream is to play once in the world’s strongest ice hockey league.
“I had an injury, was out for ten days”
Like the first major tournament with the national team, for which Gavanke made his Germany Cup debut last November. “It’s a great honor. Everyone wants to play for their country and they are proud of it. If you get a chance at such a young age, it’s even better,” says Skate Crack, who is the World Cup Awaiting the beginning of
At the start of Group B on Friday afternoon, Germany, which has to do without NHL stars Leon Drisat and Tim Stutzl, is a favorite against Italy as well as Norway on Saturday morning. The first endurance test against Canada, the country where Leon Gavanke wants to leap to the top, will take place on Monday.
For the native Berliner, it is a sport like any other. “I know a few players, and I also played with one of them in Winnipeg.” In fact, the opponent doesn’t matter – “The main thing is that we win in the end,” says the defender, who completed his ice hockey training with Eisbren in Berlin.
He returned to Canada from there after the DEL season began in January. At first, things did not go as expected. If Gavanke failed to get stuck in the Jets’ NHL team, injuries threw him back. “I was hurt, was out for ten days, then I hurt my shoulder twice.” He said that he is now all happy to be able to play the World Cup.
Because DEB coach Söderholm still relies on the youngster who flew directly to Latvia from North America with Tobias Ridder (Buffalo Sabers) and Lean Bergman (San Jose Shark). “We flew in a plane with Canadians and Americans,” Gawanke reports.
In Riga, all the players had to be in separate isolation first, only then they were allowed to train together. “We are almost exclusively in our rooms, only going down for dinner and meeting, or when we go to the hall for training. This year is just different. “
But German puck hunters always aim big. “Other teams do not have their top players. Nevertheless, Canada and the USA are full of NHL players. But we also have a very good team together. We can achieve a lot. ” And maybe Leon Gawanke gets his medal this year. “It would be nice,” he says.