For Stanley Cup winner Nico Sturm, German ice hockey is on the right track: “You can see in international tournaments that Germany has become extremely competitive in the last ten years,” the 27-year-old from Augsburg said in a video press conference.
On Tuesday, the attacker will be on the ice for the first time in his home country: he will then play a friendly with his new team, the San Jose Sharks, at Isberen Berlin (8 p.m. / ProSieben Max).
In the Colorado Avalanche’s jersey, Sturm won the most important title in ice hockey the previous season as only the fifth German in the National Hockey League (NHL). Although he moved to North America as a teenager, he did not recall the national team’s upward trend: “It seems to me that the quarter-finals for the German team have become minimal goals at the Olympics and even at the World Championships,” said Said centre, which was for set reasons, had never been used in the national jersey before. “And that wasn’t always the case. When I watched ice hockey as a young kid and Germany played Canada or the USA, defeat was really inevitable. I think the attitude has already changed.”
Sturm also sees the growing presence of German professionals in the NHL as a reason for the change. “Now you have players, and of course that helps,” he said. Leon Dresitl has long established himself as a superstar in the world’s best ice hockey league, with defender Moritz Cedar receiving the Calder Memorial Trophy for best newcomer in the summer. Forward Tim Stutzl is a top performer for the Ottawa Senators, and the next talents are about to break into JJ Pieterka and Lucas Reichl.
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