Ice hockey team missed world title: tears of disappointment

John-Jason Peterka cried bitter tears of disappointment after missing the World Cup gold, the ripped-off record world champion cheered liberated. Canada’s NHL stars looked beatable, but Germany’s ice hockey cracks lost the first World Cup final since 1930 against Canada on Sunday in Tampere by a clear 5-2 (1-1, 1-1, 0-3). As vice world champion, the selection of national coach Harold Kreis created another ice hockey milestone and, after Olympic silver in 2018 and the World Cup semifinals in 2021, once again won the hearts of the fans.

“At first, of course, disappointment prevails. We had a great opportunity here,” said captain Moritz Müller on Sport1 after former DEB President Franz Reindl handed the silver medal to the German players at the awards ceremony. In view of the immense success, the Cologne defender made it clear: “I think we’ve achieved something incredible.”

Canada ended up being more uncompromising

Will, passion and goals from NHL striker Peterka (8th minute) and Daniel Fischbuch (34th) were not enough in the end for the first world title. Kreis’ team was better in terms of gameplay for a long time in the final, but at least they travel home early on Whit Monday with silver as the first World Cup medal in 70 years, because Canada was more uncompromising in the end. “Of course I’m very, very proud of the team. We won something and didn’t lose anything,” said one affected group. His predecessor Toni Söderholm immediately sent his congratulations on the vice world title via Instagram.

“The Canadians took advantage of our little mistakes coldly. But that shouldn’t detract from our performance. We played an amazing tournament,” said goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger, but also admitted: “The pain runs deep. There was just more in it.”

Biggest success since 2018

The last time there was silver was in 1953, but at that time only four nations had played in a group phase. Canada’s NHL stars secured the world championship title for the 28th time by beating the selection of the German Ice Hockey Federation and are now again the sole record champion ahead of the currently excluded Russians. For German ice hockey, second place at the World Cup is the greatest success after silver at the 2018 Olympics.

National coach Kreis as successor to Söderholm crowned his debut as head coach. The 64-year-old native of Canada had already been there in 2010 when Germany reached the semi-finals as Uwe Krupp’s assistant. Although 15 top performers were injured and the top NHL players Leon Draisaitl, Tim Stützle and Philipp Grubauer had dropped out, the veteran coach formed a close-knit unit that was convincing in terms of fighting but also in terms of play.

Scholz and Baerbock already congratulated

“Everyone loves playing for Harry very, very much. He’s just a great person with great charisma and a great character,” praised Frederik Tiffels from German champions EHC Red Bull Munich, who shot Germany into the final on Saturday in a splendid 4: 3 after extra time against the USA with his goal in overtime had.

With that, the targets of the DEB – reaching the quarterfinals and direct Olympic qualification for Milan 2026 – were more than fulfilled. With the triumphal advance in Finland and Latvia, the DEB selection also inspired the public at home. Among others, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) sent their congratulations to the German team before the final. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll make the ice in #Tampere shake again today and win the title,” Baerbock tweeted a few hours before the game.

Good start but narrow win for Canadians

However, it was not enough for the really big hit. The German team made a courageous start, did more for the game than the passive Canadians and took the lead after a nice shot from the German World Cup top scorer Peterka on Moritz Seider’s dream pass. With luck, the big favorite equalized. When Samuel Blais equalized (11th), a deflected puck ensured that the action became dangerous in the first place.

The Canadians looked beatable, the German team got better and once again took the lead through the Düsseldorfer Fischbuch. This lead did not last either, because the referees did not punish Canada for a clear foul before Lawson Crouse (38th / Arizona) equalized again. Another unfortunate goal conceded after a defensive error by Blais (45th) paved the way for the favorites to succeed. Tyler Toffoli (52) from the Calgary Flames made the decision. Scott Laughton from the Philadelphia Flyers scored the final score into the orphaned goal (59th).

Germans play at a “high level”

Nevertheless, Germany seems to have firmly established itself among the top nations. “We played great ice hockey throughout the tournament. We showed that we can not only fight against the big players, but also play along,” said captain Moritz Müller at MagentaSport. The ambitious goal of ex-DEB President Franz Reindl, to be able to play regularly for medals in major tournaments by 2026, was fulfilled earlier than expected and hoped. “Since 2018 everyone has been used to this very high level from the Germans,” said world association president Luc Tardif at the final weekend in Tampere.

As always after an unexpected success like this, the question now arises as to how sustainable German ice hockey can use the momentum. The contract for the home World Cup in 2027 last Friday could help if the DEB quickly creates concepts for young people and awareness in society. “I think we can always spark something,” said Captain Müller, who had already won Olympic silver in 2018, about the national team’s successes.

Hank Peter

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