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Ice Hockey Game in Cologne, Germany! Kölner Haie vs Fischtown Pinguins

Posted by on January 6, 2019

It’s winter time so why not go watch some winter sports? That’s why I decided on going to a hockey game in Cologne, Germany to go watch the Kölner Haie play against the Fischtown Pinguins (or in English: Penguins). It’s been a long time since I last went to a professional hockey game so I scanned my sectors and found out that there was a game. It was time to get it on.

kölner haie home arena stadium cologne hockey ice eishockey

Kölner Haie plays in Lanxess Arena. Like in many places now, a lot of stadiums and arenas are named after their corporate sponsor. Lanxess is a German chemical company based in Cologne, Germany.

koln kolner haie sharks hockey sports pro professional

The arenas in Germany are a lot smaller than the ones in the United States and Canada. One thing that I noticed was that the seats are not next to the glass as they are in the US/Canada either. In an arena that can fill up to 18,000, the game only had an attendance of over 11,000 despite the team doing pretty good in the league standings.

screen tv arena stadium scores player profiles replays

Any team nowadays has to have a hanging Jumbotron in the middle of the ceiling to show highlights, replays, player profiles, etc. And of course, there is a ton of advertisements to show as well.

Haie in German means sharks which is actually funny considering that the city of Cologne is many kilometers away from any kind of salt water with actual real man-eating sharks in it. The Rhine River is the most prominent body of water which practically flows through the center of the city but I highly doubt that there are any sharks in it since it’s fresh water. There are some man-eating sharks that swim in freshwater but I highly doubt any of them are on the European continent. It always makes me laugh on franchises and their team name selections despite the geographical mis-matches.

warmup calentarse antes de hockey en hielo pro winter game

Players warm up prior to the start of the game. Kölner Haie played in the black jerseys today when generally they wear red.

players jerseys going DEL deutsche eishockey liga league german germany

After the first whistle signalling the start of the game, the players blast off into game mode. A lot of the game reminded me of the NHL but with some differences.

But at least the Kölner Haie hockey team is quite famous among the German hockey league pundits because unlike the visiting Fischtown Pinguins (which cannot match the NHL team’s glory with the same name) are also known as REV Bremerhaven, Kölner Haie actually has a lot of history dating back to the 1970s. And the best part about these Cologne Sharks is that the team has actually won championships and trophies unlike the other Sharks team aka the San Jose Sharks in the NHL who choke every year. If you don’t believe me about the San Jose Sharks choking then just reference their multiple playoff chokes. The biggest choke of all time being the absolute meltdown of blowing a 3-0 lead in the 2014 NHL playoffs to only lose the next 4 games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings. The LA Kings, after being outscored 16-8 in the first game, absolutely changed the momentum in the next four games by completely winning those games and outscoring the Chokers by a huge margin of 18-5. At least the Cologne Sharks have won it all! So they are not the chokers and far more worthy of the team name, “Sharks.”

front row seats chairs hockey game

I was sitting front row expecting to be RIGHT NEXT to the glass. Nope. At least 3 meters away. I still had great seats but I was really hoping to bang on that glass like a lot of fans do in the NHL.

shootout overtime hockey germany

I was glad to see that German hockey league copies the NHL’s overtime rules of going 3 on 3 (with one goalie) for 5 minutes and then reverting to a shootout with 3 players and then turning into sudden death mode. Here was the Pinguins’s turn to score. Neither had a goal until much later.

winning goal shootout

Kölner Haie wins the overtime shootout by finally scoring one. Here the team celebrates the victory as fans all around me go crazy in euphoria.

handshake after game darse la mano despues del juego partido

Here was something that I don’t really see in the NHL (unless it’s the end of a playoff series) which was shaking hands after the end of the game. Another thing that I noticed was the lack of big hits and players dropping gloves to fight. Sure, I saw some pushing and shoving, fouls leading to time being spent in the sin bin, and some hits here and there, but not as much in the NHL.

Like comparing the German basketball game to the NBA game in the United States/Canada, I also compared the German hockey game to the NHL in the United States/Canada. There are a lot of similarities that any person can easily see such as the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (German Hockey League) talent level is NOT comparable even though there are some players in Germany who have played in the NHL previously. But as one hockey fan would say that hockey is hockey and they are professionals so it’s still something. And you never know that there might be up-and-coming players in the German league who might be rising stars ready to become tomorrow’s big stars at the NHL stage. Many European hockey players have gone through this road just like some of the basketball players who went from the European basketball leagues to the NBA.

The German city of Cologne/Köln has plenty to see particularly on the sports scene with the popular Bundesliga teams of FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen nearby. That’s why I recommend tourists going to Cologne to go watch a game like locals do.