Ice hockey fans must continue to be patient. After the previous season was canceled due to the corona pandemic in mid-March, the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) is now postponing the start of the new season by at least six weeks. Instead of starting on September 18 as originally planned, the puck will not fly over ice again until November.
A corresponding circulation decision has been issued and is to be confirmed by the club bosses in the coming days, said DEL Managing Director Gernot Tripcke of the specialist magazine “Ice Hockey News”. “We actually planned to wait two or three weeks longer,” Tripcke said. However, the clubs “preferred negative planning security with a postponed start to the season”.
The background to the decision is the continued nationwide ban on major events until October 31. The ice hockey clubs in particular have to rely on spectator income in their budget planning.
It is not clear, however, whether the DEL starting signal will be fired on November 1st. The traditional Germany Cup in Krefeld is actually scheduled for November 5 to 8. “We want to take this into account,” said Tripcke and announced talks with the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) in this regard.
Despite the postponement, the league boss sees no major scheduling problems. »It’s an almost normal game plan. In the playoffs you have to see if you can go best-of-five, ”said Tripcke. In this case, there would be a maximum of five series instead of seven games. Which clubs will start in the new season will be announced this week when the licensing process is made public. After the DEL2 surprisingly with the Bietigheim Steelers refused the license to a prominent representative, the tremor may have increased with one or the other first division team.
The planning is made more difficult by the uncertainty of the audience revenue. Another sticking point is the DEL deferral agreement required by the DEL. Accordingly, to secure the club, the professionals must first forego a quarter of their salary, which they only get paid out at the end of the season in the best case scenario – i.e. with a corresponding total turnover.
According to “Ice Hockey News”, 13 out of 14 clubs had reached a corresponding agreement that a club had to contractually convert the individually made agreements into a flat-rate decision. However, regardless of this, there should be cross-club players who strictly refuse to sign.
According to Tripcke, there is “no legal basis” for denying these players the license to play. The league boss relies on the principle of solidarity. “I doubt whether a club licenses this player,” he said, “that wouldn’t be a fair signal to the rest of the team.” SID/nd