Personal talks and “efficient meetings”: the DEB team works through bankruptcy in Canada

Personal talks and "efficient meetings": the DEB team works through bankruptcy in Canada

National coach Tony Soderholm tried to keep everyone in a good mood during training. The German ice hockey team reacted with demonstrable ease to the harsh start and injury of key player Marko Novak at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

“A bad mood doesn’t help,” says Matthias Plachta.
Imago Images/Lassie Perenyi

“We’ve all been in the ice hockey business for so long that we know a bad mood doesn’t help,” said attacker Mathias Plachta – one of the team’s ten 2018 silver winners – on Friday. “We’re a group that has a lot of fun together.”

This was clearly felt at first training, despite a poor 1:5 against the C selection of record Olympic champions Canada without NHL stars. Also without Novak, who is out on Thursday with a suspected injury after a serious but no penalty investigation by Canadian Eric O’Dell.

After a false start against Canada on Saturday (9.40 am), they now face outside China. Rather against the Kunlun Red Star Club team from the Russian-influenced KHL, which appears at the Olympics as the China national team. “It’s a nation we can beat,” said Plachta, who knows for sure that victory against the big outsider is essential: “You can put it that way, but you have to take every opponent seriously. Gotta take it.”

We had an efficient meeting and now have a good workout. Tomorrow we have another chance.

Apart from the fact that after the self-declared medal contender’s worrying performance against Canada, any other attitude is out of the question, anything other than a win would certainly be a disgrace. The skepticism of China’s Olympic presence became even more apparent than was known in 0:8 against the American team, which consisted mainly of college players.

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In KHL, Kunlun is far away. 13 Canadians, three US citizens and one Russian Kunlun were given Chinese names without much ado, and the strict naturalization formalities probably weren’t taken very seriously. “There’s always a touch of the foreign in the Olympics,” Söderholm said diplomatically.

lots of face to face

After losing to Canada, the Finn was more concerned about rebuilding his team than about worrying about the Chinese team’s sense of humor or nonsense. During training on Friday, Söderholm had several face-to-face conversations. With many shots, some of them on empty targets, confidence should clearly be revived.

“We had a skilful meeting and now have a good training session. Tomorrow we have another chance,” Plakta said. The Mannheim man experienced a false start in 2018 at the Olympics in Pyeongchag with two defeats at the start. After that, Germany got better and better, missing only 56 seconds at the end for the gold medal match against Russia in the final.

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