Updated March 8, 2021, 5:44 p.m.
- Leon Dracitel is considered the best ice hockey player in the world.
- Other exceptional talents like Tim Stützle or Moritz Seider follow suit.
- Will Germany be the next big country for ice hockey?
Not in football, in handball, in basketball, in boxing, or even in Formula 1, the German is currently considered the best in his field. In ice hockey, on the other hand, it is. His name is: Leon Draicetel.
The Cologne native plays in the NHL North American Professional League for Edmonton Oilers and has won awards after last season.
The 25-year-old was honored with a Hart Memorial Cup and Ted Lindsay Award as the most valuable player of the season, and with 110 goalscoring points (goals and assists were pooled together) he was the most attacking striker in the league.
Draisaitl is only the second German after basketball icon Dirk Nowitzki, who has been voted the best player, best player, in the major North American professional leagues NHL, NBA (basketball), NFL (football) or MLB (baseball).
Nowitzki praises Draisaitl: the hard worker
Nowitzki pays him respect. The former basketball player said in an interview with “nhl.com”.
The playmaker also earned recognition in this country and was named Germany’s Best Sportsman for 2020. He followed in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Henri Musk, who had won this award before him.
In the current season, Draisaitl is one of the top three goalscorers in the NHL with 36 goals so far (as of March 8). Not only does the German want to win individual prizes, but he also wants to win titles with the team.
Draisaitl seeks to win the Stanley Cup
Of course we want to play for the Stanley Cup, Draisaitl said recently in an interview. “nhl.com”. “I think we found each other as a team in the past few weeks. I hope we keep moving forward.”
Draisaitl isn’t the only German with great success in North America. Dominic Cahon plays alongside Draisaitl for the Oilers. Nico Storm (Minnesota Wild) and Tobias Reeder (Buffalo Sabers) are also regular players in their teams, and even Philip Groppower (Colorado Avalanche) is one of the best goalkeepers in the NHL. Additionally, with Thomas Grace, another German goalkeeper is the Detroit Red Wings number 1 goalkeeper.
Many young Germans are making their way: 19-year-old Moritz Sider has been loaned out to Sweden but has to play an important role in the Detroit Red Wings next season at the latest.
The same goes for 18-year-old Lucas Rachel and 19-year-old John Jason Petrka, who were both shortlisted by the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sisters in their 2020 NHL Draft.
Tim Stützle – greatest talent since Draisaitl
The greatest hope of Germans, however, is Tim Stotzel of Ottawa Senators. The 19-year-old was named third in the 2020 NHL Draft – just like Draisaitl six years ago.
Viersen’s talent is already one of the top performers in his squad and was voted (newcomer in the league) for February. His record: 24 games, five goals, nine assists.
The comparisons with Draisaitl do not bother him, on the contrary: “It is great for me to mention about him and it motivates me the most. I want to get to that level at some point.”
This week he has three chances to measure himself against his idol. The members of the Senate and the House of Representatives meet Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening and Friday evening.
The ascent is also recognized in German ice hockey in Canada. “There are definitely a lot of good German players here,” said Dave Tibbett, head coach of Edmonton Oilers.
“I’m not sure what they do in the leagues in Germany, but they do bring very talented players there. It also looks like young Stützle is a really good player who could become a big star one day. It all talks about German ice hockey.”
Cahon believes in a successful era for the national team
Cahon sees it similarly: “You notice and see what kind of player is coming. Be it Stotzel or Petrka and Rachel, they both still play at DEL. We now have more players here in the NHL.”
Moreover: “If we all meet together, for example in the World Cup or the Olympic Games, then I think we will have a very good national team. This is also important. I hope more and more will follow. Be well in the future.”
In early February 2018, German ice hockey caused a sensation when the national team advanced to the Olympic final and only failed in overtime against Russia 3: 4.
The 2021 World Cup, which will be held in the Latvian capital Riga from May 21 to June 6, will be the next important task for the German national team. However, only German NHL players who missed the playoffs with their teams can participate.
At the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held from February 4-20 in Beijing, China, all NHL stars must be on ice. This could be the time when Germany is finally proving itself as an ice hockey superpower.
- nhl.com/de: EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Draisaitl and Kahun
- nhl.com/de: Nowitzki is passionate about ice hockey and Draisaitl
- nhl.com/de: The future shines for German ice hockey
- nhl.com/de: Stützle is the month starter for February
Leon Dricitel was named the most valuable player of the season in the best league in the world. The 24-year-old is making history with it and following the mega-footsteps of the ice hockey icon.