Del coaches believe title race will be more balanced

Del coaches believe title race will be more balanced

Don jackson of EHC red bull munich may be confident of defending the title again, but if his fellow coaches have their way, the dominance of the perennial champions in the 25. German ice hockey league season comes to an end.

Most coaches are expecting more competition in the 14. September season to begin with a much more exciting title race than in the past three years, when the most financially powerful club always triumphed. Hardly any other coach expressed himself as clearly as munich’s championship guarantor jackson in a survey conducted by the german press agency: "EHC red bull munchen – because we want to defend our title again and always win it."

The DEL coaches again see the seven-time champion adler mannheim, who last won the title in 2015 before munich’s championship series began, as a rough challenger, and then mostly de-raced. "There are certainly some teams that want to be in the running for the title this year. That definitely includes us," said new mannheimer coach and adler player legend pavel gross.

Many clubs obviously see the jolt of the previous wolfsburg coach as an important step towards the old mannheim strength. "I think the eagles mannheim have a good chance to win the title," said bremerhaven’s thomas popiesch, for example. "They’ve had a major shake-up in the sporting management, which could mean that everyone has to prove themselves all over again, and they’ve also strengthened themselves very well in certain areas."

DEG coach harold kreis – also a former mannheim player and coach – sees a neck-and-neck race: "for me, there are only two teams that really come into question at the end of the day: champions munchen and the adler mannheim, whereby I see slight advantages for munchen."

Since 2016, the EHC has won the main round and playoffs three times more or less clearly. Only this spring, munchen had to fight its way through seven final games in the process. More competition was also welcomed by the top DEL teams. "I have nothing against munich, but of course there is a need for variety," said managing director gernot tripcke on tuesday.

Although the champions of the years 2016 to 2018, who are financially roughly supported by the red-bull empire, are, according to the coaches, again the favorites in the race. But besides jackson, only four other colleagues wanted to commit to the EHC – significantly fewer than in the past. In addition, in mark mahon (kolner sharks), one of three sports directors who took part in the survey instead of their coaches. Mahon was also rather vague: "munchen has established a standard in this league that we all try to reach."

The sporting directors of krefeld and straubing also took part, with the icemen berlin also playing a role. Krefeld’s matthias roos named munich and mannheim as favorites along with the previous season’s runners-up. Straubing’s jason dunham even sees the capital club as the sole title contender "because they narrowly missed out on the title last season and have made a lot of good new signings that add even more depth to the squad."

Berlin’s new coach clement jodoin, together with iserlohn’s rob daum, did not want to commit himself. Also nurnberg’s kevin gaudet apparently found this difficult. "No matter in which league – the favorites are always the four teams with the biggest budget, i.E. Munchen, mannheim, berlin and koln," said the new coach of the ice tigers and even named his club himself: "for me, mannheim and munchen are the favorites, but of course we also dream of the championship."

The answers to the dpa coaches’ poll on the favorites for the title in the german ice hockey league – in alphabetical order of the clubs:

Mike stewart (augsburg panthers): "munchen, the defending champions always start as favorites. You have a strong team again."

Clement jodoin (icemen berlin): "14 teams have a chance of winning the championship."

Thomas popiesch (bremerhaven penguins): "i think the eagles mannheim have a good chance of taking the title. They have a major upheaval in the sporting management, which could have the consequence that all have to prove themselves again and they have also strengthened themselves very well in some points."

Harold kreis (dusseldorfer EG): "at the end of the day, there are only two teams that really come into question for me: champions munchen and the eagles mannheim, whereby i see slight advantages for munchen."

Doug shedden (ERC ingolstadt): "when you have a team like EHC red bull munchen that has won the title three years in a row, they are in that role – until someone takes the winner’s belt away from the champion."

Rob daum (iserlohn roosters): "i can’t give an answer to that question. The clubs in the league have changed a lot over the summer, so it remains to be seen who will have the edge next spring."

Mark mahon (kolner sharks/sports director): "munchen has established a standard in this league that we are all trying to reach."

Matthias roos (krefeld penguins/sports director): "on paper, munich, berlin and mannheim have the squads with the best quality. If another team should prevail in the end, this would certainly be a surprise."

Pavel gross (adler mannheim): "of course we know that munchen has won the championship three times in a row. But there are certainly some teams that want to compete for the title this year. In any case, we are among them. We want to make it as difficult as possible for the opponent in every single game."

Don jackson (EHC red bull munchen): "EHC red bull munchen – because we want to defend our title again and we always want to win."

Kevin gaudet (nurnberg ice tigers): "no matter in which league – the favorites are always the four teams with the biggest budget, i.E. Munchen, mannheim, berlin and koln. For me, mannheim and munchen are the favorites, but of course we also dream of the championship."

Pat cortina (schwenninger wild wings): "the EHC red bull munchen will again start this year as the rough favorite for the championship. However, there are also 13 other candidates who want to have the maximum success."

Jason dunham (straubing tigers/athletic director): "the iceable berlin, because they just missed the title last season and have made a lot of good new signings that give the squad even more depth."

Pekka tirkkonen (grizzlys wolfsburg): "red bull munchen, because they have a lot of experience – also in terms of how titles are won. They have a high quality team and a very broad squad."

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