Postponement chaos in ice hockey: A World Cup at the completely wrong time

Postponement chaos in ice hockey
A World Cup at the completely wrong time

In the third attempt it finally seems to work with the women’s ice hockey world championship. Above all, the short-term cancellation in spring still has an effect – and leads to an appointment in August that has never been done before.

Germany’s ice hockey women still remember the shock of cancellation before this extraordinary World Cup date in August. In April, preparations for the World Cup were as good as complete. The suitcases for the trip to Canada the next day were packed when a team meeting was unexpectedly called in Füssen: The World Cup was canceled at short notice due to corona safety concerns in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. “We were joking around before that,” said national player Tanja Eisenschmid: “Then we really sat there with our mouths open. We were all really stunned.”

After all, the waiver in the sealed-off bubble and the preparation had initially been in vain. In the meantime, the team has held the World Cup training camp again. Four months later, the tournament is due to begin on Friday after a postponing marathon. From 20 to 31 August, ten nations will play for the title in Calgary instead of Halifax and Truro. The Germans’ first group game will take place on Saturday against outsiders Hungary (8 p.m.).

After the corona-related cancellation in 2020, a first planned date in April 2021 and the then planned date in May, the women will now play in the summer – before the start of the next season. Usually the World Cup is the end. “I don’t think there has ever been a World Cup in August,” said Tanja Eisenschmid: “You had to train very differently over the summer. But it is the way it is now. We are happy that we can play at all . “

Players are absent due to lack of vacation days

Franz Reindl, President of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB), described the rejection as a “catastrophe”. Women’s ice hockey is a marginal sport. The status is much lower than that of the men who reached the World Cup semi-finals in Latvia with Eisenschmid’s brother Markus. “In this case it was by no means a women-men thing,” said DEB sporting director Christian Künast: “I believe that no major event in the world would have had a replacement location if it had been canceled overnight.”

Everyone would have to get used to the time of the World Cup, said Künast. And deal with some problems. The players in Germany cannot earn a living directly from ice hockey. According to Künast, 16 are in the armed forces, plus students. A World Cup teammate works part-time, said Eisenschmid. But the World Cup in August was not feasible for everyone. “It was just difficult for people who had to take vacation from work,” reported Eisenschmid: “There have been players who had to cancel.” Because of work or studies.

Nevertheless, the appointment is also an opportunity and has its charm. “Perhaps it is exactly the place that women’s ice hockey is looking for internationally,” speculated Künast. “As sad as it sounds, maybe we will inspire other people because nothing else comes up,” said the 28-year-old defender Eisenschmid.

With the new national coach Thomas Schädler, who only took over after the rejection in April, it should work again with the quarter-finals. In group B, at least third place is required. With all the ambition, however, the World Cup also serves to prepare for even more important games. From November 11th to 14th, the women in Füssen want to secure a trip to the Olympic Games in Beijing. “Of course we want to play a good World Cup. But for us the Olympic qualification in November is the most important thing,” said Künast.