One of the things I have wanted to do in Hamburg is go to an ice hockey game, so when my friend A said she had free tickets I jumped at the chance to go. Last night’s game was the opening game of the season and was between the Hamburg Freezers and Adler Mannheim. I was warned that the experience would be ‘cheesy American with a German twist’ and that description was right on the money. Whilst I’ve not been to an ice hockey game in the US, I have been to a basketball one and the ice hockey game last night was very similar in feel.
What I loved about the game was all the little ritualistic things, for instance, when they were announcing the players the announcer would read out the player’s first name and the audience would yell out their last name. This also happened when the Freezers scored a goal and the announcer would announce the player who shot the goal plus the player who assisted. Then there was the chants that the fans would break out into throughout the game. It was extremely difficult working out what they were chanting as the loudest fan in our area had a speech impediment. For a good portion of the game, we honestly thought that one of the chants was ‘Come on Jesus’, which left us extremely puzzled only to work out that the actual chant was ‘Hamburg Freezers’ which made much more sense. Then there was the song that everyone would break out into when one of the opposition’s player’s was sin binned. I’m still not sure about the words, but it was something along the lines of ‘Hamburg says goodbye’. Nothing however beat the frenzy that erupted when the Freezers scored. Everyone leaped on their feet and yelled out ‘Tor!’ (goal), waved flags and banners and then broke out into a chant that even though we heard it four times, we still have no idea what was being said.
I had a fantastic evening at the ice hockey and would really love to go again. If you ever get the chance to go to an ice hockey game in Germany, do it. It is such a fun evening and a fantastic insight into a slice of the sporting culture of Germany.
More photos of the ice hockey below. You will notice that most of them contain netting. This is so you don’t get a puck in the face and trust me, it is a damn good thing the netting is there.