News : Germany at the Ice Hockey World Cup: Canada is now waiting – sport
Some names in ice hockey inevitably create great expectations. Lukas Reichel knows that very well, because he has such a name. His uncle Robert Reichel is a Czech ice hockey legend, became an Olympic champion, several times world champion and has played around 900 NHL games. Martin Reichel, Lukas’ father, has more than one hundred international matches for Germany and over 700 games in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL). So it makes perfect sense when Lukas Reichel says: “I want to be the next Reichel.”
The 19-year-old is taking further steps in this direction at the ice hockey world championship in Latvia. The German national team defeated Norway 5-1 on Saturday. It was the second group win within 18 hours, at the beginning there was a clear 9: 4 against Italy. Reichel scored in both games and was honored as the best German player after the Norway game.
“If I can help the team with goals, that’s always good,” said the 19-year-old Eisbären Berlin attacker at Sport1. “His goal was simply unbelievable,” said Matthias Plachta about Reichel’s solo to make it 4-0 against Norway: “That shows his individual class. Not everyone can do that in such a small space under the roof.”
In Riga, Reichel is part of the attack formation that led the Eisbären Berlin to win the German championship. Marcel Noebels and Leo Pföderl play at his side, and their appearance in the first two World Cup games is just as convincing as in the DEL. Reichel (two goals, three assists) has five scorer points after two games like Noebel’s, Pföderl has four. The harmony that the trio has built in the successful Berlin season gives them “a lot of trust,” said Reichel. “We get along well on and off the ice and have good chemistry.”
Reichel represents the “youthful cheek” of the DEB team
In game one, Noebels was named the best German player, against Norway it was Reichel; the Berlin connection works. Against the Norwegians, the strong Eisbären goalkeeper Mathias Niederberger and defender Leon Gawanke, who played for Berlin at the beginning of the season before moving to North America, rounded off the successful Berlin image with his first World Cup goal. “We have youthful cheek in the game that you can really use,” says the experienced defender Korbinian Holzer – and Reichel is representative.
With the two victories against Italy and Norway, the team of national coach Toni Söderholm fulfilled the obligation to start the World Cup. She can now go into the game against record world champions Canada on Monday (7.15 p.m.) with a good feeling. The Canadians are in Riga with a young team that started with a 2-0 defeat against hosts Latvia. This is not the only reason why German expectations are great.
“This year it’s a different tournament than in previous years,” explains Tobias Rieder from the Buffalo Sabers. “The Canadians, the Americans, the top teams came with a lot of young players. Of course there is a lot in there.” Mannheim’s attacker Markus Eisenschmid even feels reminded of Finland, which became world champions in 2019 without its players with the big names from North America. The Finns had “shown how it can work”, emphasized Eisenschmid, “and there is really nothing to prevent it from working for us.”
Lukas Reichel, the youngest player in the German squad, will be particularly motivated against the Canadians: The striker was drafted in 17th place by the Chicago Blackhawks last fall. The World Cup is also a showcase for him in which he can recommend himself for an NHL contract. “That’s what it’s about me too,” he confirmed on Saturday. He is in close contact with Blackhawks officials, and each of his games is analyzed. The 19-year-old says he wants to get into the NHL as soon as possible – and his father Martin believes that he can. “Whether he makes it in the NHL, he alone decides. Lukas knows what he can do and where he may have to improve,” said Reichel Senior Prague newspaper. The next good game against the motherland of ice hockey would certainly help.