Home » DEL Play-off Bremerhaven: Ice hockey fairytale from the North Sea goes to the final

DEL Play-off Bremerhaven: Ice hockey fairytale from the North Sea goes to the final

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DEL Play-off Bremerhaven: Ice hockey fairytale from the North Sea goes to the final

Ice hockey Penguins Bremerhaven

The ice hockey fairytale from the North Sea is heading to the finale

As of: 4:19 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

NHL star Leon Draisaitl raves about the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven

The Pinguins Bremerhaven are THE surprise team in the DEL. They finished the main round first and are now in the playoff final. For the very first time in their club history. There it’s against the nine-time DEL champion Eisbären Berlin. The “high-flyers” from Bremerhaven even rave about German NHL star Leon Draisaitl.

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For years, Bremerhaven’s manager Alfred Prey has annoyed the competition in the German Ice Hockey League. The DEL final of the Fishtown Piguins against the Eisbären Berlin is the crowning achievement. At his peak he will retreat to the second row.

Even ice hockey superstar Leon Draisaitl raves about the Fischtown Pinguins. “What they have built over the last few years is very, very remarkable,” said the NHL professional from the Edmonton Oilers. “We all love the story of smaller teams getting this far.”

Manager Alfred Prey is currently at a loss for words, and not just because of the compliments from one of the best ice hockey players in the world. The “Gallic village”, as the club from Bremerhaven likes to call itself compared to its more affluent competition, is looking forward to the first playoff final in the club’s history on Wednesday (7.30 p.m., MagentaSport) against the Eisbären Berlin. “Final against the Eisbären Berlin. Craziness. A historic moment,” emphasized the Upper Palatinate native with the distinctive mustache.

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Alfred Prey

Source: dpa/Heike Feiner

The Fischtown Pinguins are his club. Prey has been the flagship of the North Sea for decades. 30 years ago, the then professional soldier started press work in Bremerhaven. He has formed the club since 2002 and was promoted to the DEL in 2016 with coach Thomas Popiesch, who had been hired a few months earlier. Immediately before his retreat to the second row, he is now faced with a happy ending he would never have believed. “Playoff finals? “Honestly, I would have thought anyone was crazy for a long time,” said Prey. “It can’t get any bigger. You couldn’t ask for a better farewell.”

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Emotions are currently high on the agenda at Prey. Sporty, because the club from Seestadt surprised the competition as the main round winner. Runner-up ERC Ingolstadt had no chance in the playoff quarter-finals and defending champion EHC Red Bull Munich was also surprisingly sent on vacation with a 4-1 win. “Highly deserved,” says Prey. “They deserve to be in the final,” confirmed Munich manager Christian Winkler.

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The club as a family

However, Prey was even more impressed by a fan campaign on his 70th birthday in February in his home ice arena. The fans of the DEL club thanked their manager with a great choreography. “Our success is thanks to you,” read a large banner. Prey had tears in her eyes. “That moved Alfred enormously,” said Coach Popiesch, who is expected to move to Krefeld after the season.

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Prey describes the Fischtown Penguins as a family and at the same time names an important reason for the success story: Unlike the competition, the Penguins rarely look to North America when making new signings. “Our squad has a European influence. We have Danes, Norwegians and Slovenes. For them, family and the feel-good factor have a completely different meaning. “That plays an important role,” he explained.

Bremerhaven has one of the smallest budgets in the DEL

Prey has built up the ice hockey family in the north over the past few years. Other DEL teams change a large part of their team year after year and are visibly surprised at the continuity in Bremerhaven. A structure around the Slovenian top scorer Jan Urbas has been playing there for years, although the club says it has a mini budget. “His children go to school here. His daughter speaks perfect German,” explained Prey and asked: “Why should he change clubs? We don’t have any legionnaires. Here everyone knows everyone and is part of the city community.”

Nine games, eight wins – Bremerhaven is racing through the DEL play-offs so far

Source: dpa/Carmen Jaspersen

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Prey is also closely rooted in Lake City. “I’ve been here almost half my life,” he said. Next season he will look after sponsors in the background. Former national player Sebastian Furchner is already in office as his successor. “He is two thousand percent the right man and will continue to lead the Penguins in exactly the same way,” explained Prey.

Prey did not confirm rumors that the most famous mustache in German ice hockey would be shaved off when he won the championship. “That’s a no-go,” emphasized Prey. “I will defend it with my life.”

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