The ice hockey season is approaching fast and EHC Red Bull München are looking to improve on last year and push for a place in the top six. Several players have moved on or retired but adequate replacements have now been scouted and recruited.
The backroom staff have worked hard over a difficult summer and seem to have made good moves in refreshing the squad and bringing the average age down from 29 to 25, whilst also improving the balance of the team. The squad is looking strong with more variety in player styles, providing greater depth should the injury curse strike again from last season.
Coach Pat Cortina likes his players to all work hard for each other and the squad looks suited to his style of play.
Here's a rundown on the squad which will be starting the 2012-2013 German Ice Hockey League (DEL) campaign.
Jochen Reimer (GER) : The leagues leading goalie last season with a miserly 2.08 goals against average and a 93.3% save percentage. An outstanding player with excellent reflexes and positioning. EHC will be looking for more of the same this season and he'll likely play more minutes following the departure of last season's experienced backup (Sebastian Elwing).
Lukas Steinhauer (GER) : New recruit. A 19 year old with a bright future but will be playing 2nd fiddle to Reimer. Currently the National U-20 keeper.
Jakob Goll (GER) : Another 19 year old. Will spend most of the season on loan at 3rd Division Peiting to gain playing experience.
Johan Ejdepalm (SWE) : Solid and dependable. An excellent skater with a good shot and puck moving ability who will once again be leading the blueline.
Sören Sturm (GER) : Still only 22 and now into his 7th DEL campaign. He'll be looking to bounce back from an injury-hit season last year.
Felix Petermann (GER) : Another welcome returnee. Physical d-man who wore the Alternate Captain's 'A' last year and is a regular in the National team.
Blake Sloan (USA) : A wealth of experience has been brought in with this new signing. 37 years old, 290 NHL games and 6 seasons in the DEL including a couple of championships. Expect him to take over the Captain's role from retiree Stéphane Julien.
Viktor Ekbom (SWE) : Joins from the Finnish Elite league and at 1,91m adds size to the EHC defence. 23 years old with experience of some of the top European leagues. Will be a big help on the penalty kill.
Ryan Kavanagh (CAN) : 21 year old who comes over the border from Salzburg. Looks to be an offensive minded d-man who will give diversity to the powerplay.
David Cespiva (GER) : Into his 2nd year in Munich and will be hoping to continue his progress from last season.
Christian Wichert (GER) : A local lad with good skating and vision and a physical edge to his game. Started to come into his own towards the end of last season playing on a line with Buchwieser and Maurer. Further improvements should be seen this year.
Bryan Adams (CAN) : Now entering his 10th season in the DEL. A hard working defensive forward who missed over half of last season with injury. He will help improve the penalty kill and press the opposition into mistakes.
Martin Buchwieser (GER) : Local favourite who has his name shouted 3 times by the home fans. An aggressive forward with good attitude who'll be needing to bounce back to his form of 2 seasons ago.
Mike Kompon (CAN) : Munich's all time leading scorer came back for the 2nd half of last season after initially accepting a role back home. This will be his 7th season with the club. A speedy, creative and consistent forward with good hands.
Jason Ulmer (CAN) : One of the best face-off men in the league and stood out in most games last year. A welcome returnee who will show the EHC faithful more of his grit, determination and goal scoring.
Klaus Kathan (GER) : A Bavarian with 16 years DEL experience. Still knows how to find the back of the net.
Ulrich Maurer (GER) : Another local. Has great speed and is a hard working winger. The final piece of last seasons successful 'BMW' line.
Lubor Dibelka (CZE) : A new recruit who has been scoring goals for fun in the lower leagues for the past few seasons. Was last years leading scorer in the German 2nd flight and has been given the opportunity to show his skills in the DEL. More offence and goals are needed from last season, and Dibelka will be looked at to provide that.
Brent Aubin (CAN) : Comes with Kavanagh from Salzburg where the trainer described him as a "Coaches dream". Only small in size, but highly skilled with a good shot. He'll have a major role to play on the powerplay.
Martin Hinterstocker (GER) : 22 year old returns to Bavaria after 5 seasons with Düsseldorf. A good talent with ambitions to take the next step.
Toni Ritter (GER) : Another 22 year old, and joins from Iserlohn. Has good size and likes to use that to his advantage.
Andreas Pauli (GER) : An 18 year centre with bags of potential. Broke into the Munich team last year and is looking to be a permanent fixture this season.
EHC Red Bull München start their pre-season with a home match at the Olympia Eishalle against Black Wings Linz from Austria this Sunday 19th August starting at 18:00, with the first home league game scheduled for Sunday 16th September with a 16:30 face-off. The following week sees the first big local derby as the Panthers from Augsburg visit the Eishalle on Friday 21st. Match starting at 19:30. All fixture and ticket information can be found at www.ehc-muenchen.de
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