Bietigheim-Biesingen. With 35 goals, Riley Shein is the top scorer of all time in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL). In his second year with the Bietigheim Steelers, the 27-year-old Canadian is flourishing and has played a big part in keeping Ellentäler in tenth place with nine games to go. On Friday evening (7.30pm/magentasport), the Steelers will take on fourth-placed and 2019 German champion Adler Mannheim at the SAP Arena. Before the game, Edmonton-born Sheen talks about the best season ever of his ice hockey career, potential Olympic participation, and his goal of making the playoffs.
In 2020 you moved from China to Bietigheim in DEL2. At that point, would you have expected to be DEL’s top scorer after two years?
Riley Sheen: That was not what I had in mind at the time. When the offer came, I looked at Beetigheim’s history and saw that the Steelers were very successful in DEL2. My goal was to play in the second division for a year and then move to the DEL. That is exactly what we have achieved.
Have you ever had such a strong season or is DEL experiencing the best relay sheen ever?
Of course you have statistically very strong seasons as a young player, but this season is top-notch. It’s going really well.
Did you do anything different this summer than in previous years?
No. I trained in Canada with some friends. I always try to spend as much time on the ice as possible to maintain technique and stay physically fit.
Your compatriot and coach Daniel Knaud said during the Olympic Games in China that he would have liked to see you in the Canadian team. Was there contact with the national coach before the games?
No, but he was too good for Danny. I just try to give my best. Perhaps in the future there will be new opportunities.
So at the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo?
we will see. (laughs)
Before coming to Beitigheim, he played as a professional for ORG Beijing in China. Why did you decide to move to Asia at that time?
That was a great experience. My agent was in contact with a North American coach at a club in Beijing, but he plays in the Russian VHL Hockey League. It was a good first step to get started in the professional business.
What was the biggest change when you moved to China?
Of course the culture is different, but hockey is hockey no matter where you play it. You share a booth with 20 friends and as soon as you hit the snow, it’s always the same.
What do you value most about living in Germany?
kitchen. I didn’t get to explore much in the country outside of my games, but the schnitzel tastes great on its own.
Is there a league you really want to play someday?
I don’t see much into the future. As a pro in Europe there are many options for where you can land.
So you want to live in Europe?
I think so But you never know what will happen.
And how likely is it that the Steelers manage to stay in the league, assuming you also play in the DEAL next season at Bettygham?
I love it here in Bietigheim. But for such reasons we have agents and managers so I don’t have to worry about my future anymore. We still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.
They call it: The Steelers started the season as outsiders and are now surprisingly tenth on the table. What makes a team strong?
It has a lot to do with self-confidence. We wanted to challenge the strong clubs in the league this season. When we got the taste of success we realized that we can compete at this level. And we always played really good hockey when it came to that.
You play in Mannheim on Friday evenings. There too, the Steelers play an outside role. do you like that?
We have done well against Mannheim so far this year. A certain rivalry has also developed because of the local proximity. I am eagerly waiting for this, it is going to be a big match. So far, the role of the underdog suits us pretty well. No one expected us in the DEL2 final against Castle last year and we proved to be the opposite.
So far, staying in orbit has always been mentioned as a goal for the season. If you had finished tenth, you would have – by now – started in the pre-play-offs. Is it now the goal to achieve this?
Naturally. If you look at the table and where we are, it is possible. We want to score points in every game and see who it is good for in the end.
Web guru. Amateur thinker. Unapologetic problem solver. Zombie expert. Hipster-friendly travel geek. Social mediaholic.