Don Jackson’s freak was certainly not for the faint hearted. The trainer from RB Munich roared ten times “Fuck you” and four times “Fucking Bullshit” during a break towards the referee. This was undisputedly unsportsmanlike, but it also proved that Bayern took their Champions Hockey League (CHL) game at HC Ambrì-Piotta very seriously on Saturday. From break filler to serious competition: The CHL has established itself
This was not always the case in ice hockey, European cup competitions came and went and were difficult for players and fans due to their instability. Nobody really took it seriously. The current CHL is now in its sixth year, the predecessor made just two seasons between 2007 and 2009. The sponsors were missing.
It is different in the current Champions League: there the prize money and income increase, the winner now earns a seven-figure sum. And: more and more spectators are coming to the games, in Augsburg the latest game against Belfast was almost sold out – in a few weeks in the league it might be different against Wolfsburg. Competition in the CHL is becoming more attractive. Not only are swear words thrown by the coaches through the area, but also very good ice hockey is played. In the past, the preliminaries played in August were more friendly. Now it gets down to business.
The competition between the three participants from the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) – Adler Mannheim, RB Munich and Augsburger Panther – should feel this week at the beginning of the season: the international trio is already astonishingly in motion at this early stage. The three German representatives won ten out of a total of twelve games. RB Munich won again despite (or because of) Jackson’s nagging in Ambri on Saturday, Mannheim has already qualified for the knockout round of the CHL after four wins and is in the round of 16.
The fact that the German clubs are doing so well is good news for the external image of the DEL. In contrast, the fact that the most successful DEL trainer of all time is so freaking out in Switzerland is less likely to be well received there. But the CHL is an event with many side effects, so ice hockey Europe gets to know each other better.
Not only by roaring, but also in friendly encounters: the Augsburg Panthers, for example, were accompanied by more than 1000 fans during their visit to the Belfast Giants. The tourist office in the northern Irish metropolis gave ice hockey fans from Swabia some travel tips via Twitter: Take a river trip through the city and definitely have a Guinness drink.