A frozen pond, a tin can and stable branches that looked like an ice hockey stick. In earlier decades, ice hockey enthusiasts, teenagers and adults used to play this fast puck game. Some did not even wear skates. They sled across the ice in winter boots. The nostalgic times in ice hockey are long gone. Ice hockey has meanwhile become a popular sport that can be practiced in clubs almost everywhere in Germany. Canada is considered the mother country of ice hockey. The word hockey comes from French and means "crooked stick". The first ice hockey game in history took place in Montreal in March 1875. In countries such as Russia, the USA, Switzerland and all the Nordic countries, ice hockey plays an important role.
Berlin – the cradle of ice hockey in Germany
In February 1887, two teams played against each other for the first time in Germany. It took place on Halensee in Berlin. The opponents were the Akademische Sportclub Berlin and a mixed team made up of students. The academic athletes won the game 11:4. In 1901, an ice hockey department was founded in the existing Berlin ice skating club. There were soon imitators of the sport in other German cities, including Dresden, Hamburg, Munich and Wiesbaden. The Berlin Ice Skating Club was the first German ice hockey champion to be crowned in 1912. The German ice hockey players were also able to set international accents in the sport. European Champion and Vice World Champion 1930 are only a few titles won by German teams in ice hockey.
The dominance of the Bavarians in ice hockey
The first German champion in the sport after the war was the SC Riessersee. Later, the Bavarian clubs Bad Tölz and Füssen also dominated national ice hockey. Both the post-war champion in ice hockey and the other two clubs have not been playing first-class for a long time. Since 1990, in Füssen, a federal center of excellence has been maintained for this fast-paced sport. In the 1970s there was a shift in ice hockey from small Bavarian towns to large cities. This led to an increasing professionalization in this sport, which led to the introduction of a professional league (DEL) in ice hockey in 1994. In 1997, the DEL separated from the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB). Since then, the professional ice hockey league has managed its sport independently but remains contractually bound to the German Ice Hockey Federation. Despite the professional conditions in German ice hockey, the North American National Hockey League (NHL) is regarded as the best league in the world.
Tactics in ice hockey
The ice surface is usually 60 meters wide and 30 meters long. The sport is played with five field players and a goalkeeper. The goal is to transport the black hard rubber disc into the opponent's goal. Ice hockey has been played without tactical nuances for a long time. Ice hockey equipment such as tactical boards were therefore not used for the sport in the NHL or in other leagues. It was not until the 1950s that things began to change. Suddenly, coaches all over the world began to think about tactics before the season began. Many had realized that the pure will to win was not enough to bring a season to a successful conclusion. Especially the coaches in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries are regarded as pioneers in this field. Two ways of playing ice hockey emerged. The Russians favored the short pass game, which was less physical than the Canadians and North Americans in the NHL. As a contemporary ice hockey need was still unknown, the players probably learned the tactics on a slate instead of an ice hockey flipchart. Whether the ice hockey equipment used consisted of chalk or magnets played a subordinate role at the time. It was important for the development of the sport to convince the players that they could also win games with tactical refinements in ice hockey. It was only now that certain positions were assigned to the players, while previously everyone chased after the puck as it occurred to them.
Everything on attack in ice hockey
In this fast sport on skates not only the unconditional offensive leads to success. Defensive behavior must also be trained within a team. Ice hockey equipment such as cone hurdles, slalom poles or cones enrich the possibilities of training organization. To improve speed, there are now proven sprint sets that are often used in ice hockey training. The best tactics are of little use if the players lack vitality and fitness. Both components are important when, for example, an attack is opened with a wide pass to the back-goal line. Fast and technically good players then have the task to reach the puck by sprinting through the neutral zone and to get a chance to score. A break can also often be used to score a goal. In other words, when an attack of the opposing team is blocked and immediately transferred to a counterattack. In addition, there are other attack variants via the outside strikers. Equally varied is the tactical orientation of the defensive behavior. The player can try to push the opponent into his defensive zone by forechecking. If a player must serve a penalty time, the team with the lower number of players switches to zone defense. This saves forces, because the players must run less. In today's ice hockey, one tactic is rarely used throughout the game. Usually different systems are combined, and the tactical behavior is corrected according to the course of the game. A high degree of tactical understanding and flexibility is expected from the players. A good preparation for a new season does not only include targeted conditioning and technique training. Tactical improvement must also not be neglected.