Block 2, row 2. As a spectator, you can't get much closer to the playing surface at the ice hockey spectacle in nurnberg's frankenstadion. Uwe-heiko schuller is nevertheless not satisfied with his standing position directly behind the barrier fence: "I thought I could see better from here. At fubball the place is optimal, but today it is nothing." the ice tigers fan from roth is "only" standing 40 meters away from the ice, but the crowd blocks his view of the playing field.
He is nevertheless enthusiastic about the open-air premiere of the german ice hockey league (DEL) in the sold-out fubball temple in france. Just like timo eichardt. The young man from wolframs-eschenbach stands on the other side of the stadium. Another 50 meters further away from the ice than schuller, but about 40 meters higher: block 27, row 27: the last one under the roof. "It's better than being indoors. From up here, I can see everything, even the puck", says eichardt from his seat, which offers an almost bird's-eye view. He, too, is impressed by the spectacle: "A game like this could be played more often."
At this point, only a third of the game had been played, but the mood was already almost at boiling point. The music band "the boss hoss the first "DEL winter game" had as a heater not needed at all. The "la ola" was already rolling 30 minutes before the start of the game through the octagon, and with rhythmic clapping, the spectators eagerly awaited the opening bully. Buses with license plates from all over the republic showed that ice hockey fans from all over germany did not want to miss this historic event.
Fireworks at the end
"The atmosphere was unbelievable. Even the warm-up was something very special", said ice captain andre rankel. A winter wonderland was conjured up by a carpet of white ice in the stadium, while a light show during a third-period break and a fireworks display at the end provided a spectacular backdrop to the record-breaking game. 50,000 spectators – more than ever before for an open-air league game on european soil. At the same time, the number of players in the team pulverized the previous DEL record of 18.700 fans.
"It was a fantastic event. The pictures from today will go around the world", gernot tripcke was pleased. After the successful premiere it is no longer a question for the DEL-manager if there will be a second winter game, but when and where. Not only erich kuhnhackl was buried that. "A game like this is good for our sport because it appeals to a different clientele. Once a year would be ideal", said the german ice hockey legend, who had put on his own skates for the pre-game of the old stars.
At the successful open-air premiere, only the weather did not play ball. The permanent drizzle hardly disturbed the spectators, but the players even more so. The raindrops freezing on the ice made for a bumpy playing surface on which the puck did not slide cleanly. "There was a lot of luck involved in guessing correctly where the disc went", said rankel. Even the gloves were soaked. "It was difficult to hold on to the victory", added the captain of the ice after the narrow defeat.
The winner was naturally less bothered by the adverse conditions. "A little rain is part and parcel of an outdoor game", said tim schule, who had given the ice tigers a 2-1 lead at the beginning of the last period in a game that had been even for a long time.
For icy and iceable the winter game was yesterday's snow again the day after. The nurnbergers took on the eagles mannheim in another home game on sunday – this time again under the roof of the neighboring arena – the berliners went on to Hannover.