IceFighters heads Leipzig and Saale Bulls in a double interview: 'Ice hockey is a lifestyle'


Leipzig. The League Season of IceFighters Leipzig and Saale Bulls Halle has taken a crazy turn. While Leipzig residents have not been on the ice for six weeks at the end of 2020 due to coronavirus infections, Saale residents have played their way through the pandemic. The arch-competitor, who is third in the schedule, has now been sent to the summer break after the main round before the qualifiers: 10 Coronavirus cases have raised the two hopefuls. The IceFighters begin on Friday against Crocodiles Hamburg in qualifying. Leipzig Managing Director Andrzej Kroll (41 years old) and President Halle Daniel Michener (43 years old) attended to sportBUZZER interview at the editorial office. It was not possible to give an interview a few years ago due to the mutual hatred of both clubs.

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sportwhistle: Three or four years ago we should have brought our boxing gloves to the interview …

André KrollKaito: Maybe not, but we just sat away from each other.

Daniel Michener: We are not and will not be friends, we are competitors. But there is a mutual appreciation. So now we found a wavelength.


Is this due to Corona?

Abdullah Karroum: Corona focused on a common goal.

McCullin: We both got down to business. And we have been in the big league the longest.


Was Corona year a specific year?

McCullin: Being playing was and still is important. Otherwise, you lose your mind with the fans and sponsors. Sven Gerke said at the start of the season that he did not believe qualifiers would take place. I am amazed that it has worked for so long.

AK: We didn’t just find each other, the other clubs did. We have secured our strengths. Spontaneity worked well. Internally, this was structured almost optimally to the problems we encountered. We are not satisfied with the playoff story. This is not justified.


Is that what you see, Mr. Michener?

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DM: I thought we could manage everything and be the only team that didn’t survive. Positive cases a week before the qualifiers are the worst. We cannot know where it came from. We are now in a vacuum. There was no time to grieve and go down. We have 40 people in quarantine. It’s unbelievable: You’re doing really well mathematically, and you finished third. So you are out without losing a single game.


Should the qualifiers play at all?

DM: If you can play, you must play it to the end. But what is the value in the end?

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There must be a climber.

AK: The person who does not have corona will rise.

DM: I’m curious to see how many players won’t be playing in the next few days. I can imagine that she is being fooled.


Will Corona still be a problem next season?

McCullin: I suppose we’ll play under certain conditions.

AK: I don’t see any viewers in September yet. The story will definitely go on for at least a year.


What does that mean economically?

McCullin: It’s hard to evaluate. Sponsors only give you one time money for free or buy tickets for free. In terms of income, we have the money from sponsors, grants, and income from Sprade.tv. The assignment also helped a lot. Players and all employees concede 20 percent.

AK: We also waived wages. And yes, we’ve had good results so far. Most of the shepherds kept us in line. Some cut their budgets, of course. But next season will be more difficult. You cannot continue to “help and save” forever.


How did Sprade.tv broadcasts help?

DM: Sprade is a marketing story. We take a net 2000 to 3000 euros per match. This is exactly what it costs match day without spectators. You’re practically plus / minus zero.

AK: It helps. But this is difficult in the long run. It might take some time to get everyone back on the field. There is also weaning.

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McCullin: Fear! This will be a problem for four to five years until we get back to where we were.


Do you really believe it, five years?

AK: It would be a long way back to normal. There is still a lot to come. There are also problems in terms of personnel. Players may want to earn money elsewhere, for example in construction.

McCullin: We lost two players in Halle. They would rather rely on a safe job than the uncertainty of wage exemptions. Boys don’t make much money on ice hockey. Ice hockey is a lifestyle.


Will Sprade.tv continue?

AK: I was against the spread. But it is important to be present. Economically, this is not the optimum. All people Corona taught them to sit three times in front of the screen. I am not happy with that. How do I get people back to the stadium?


How much is the audience missing?

AK: Without fans, it’s almost a different sport, because ice hockey is a very emotional sport. You can see that in boys, too.

McCullin: Feelings are missing. It’s the dance of death, a snowboarding training game. For this reason alone, fans should be back. Plus: You can’t create anything on a live broadcast if there are three people sitting in front of the screen.

AK: You have neither food nor trade. Not without guest turnover, too.


What does the lack of fans mean for the team?

AK: The kids train and go home. This is a big problem for team sports. What did we celebrate after Derby? Now they are taking a bath five meters away from the next day. Maybe he drinks beer. Much was broken there.


Will there be another joint business between IceFighters and Saale Bulls?

AK: We want a repeat of the summer game. But we need security planning with the viewers.

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McCullin: We also want to organize a winter game together again. We also have to cash our bets.

AK: But it only makes sense if there are fans on the field again.


Both clubs declared the DEL2 goal. Is nothing missing when someone moves?

AK: The derby is very important. But it would be fatal if the season relied only on one derby – both athletically and economically. The Leipzig site is DEL2. But if you have conditions like you in Halle, you actually have to live up to it. Do you really want that? Or is this just rattling?

DM: I was hanging around. But in the last few years we have said that if that happens, we will. You cannot plan it. An athlete determines the speed. But Leipzig also belongs to the second degree.


What are you jealous of in your opponent?

DM: Leipzig has the largest conglomerate and a larger population. But there is also a competition with RB and DHfK. Otherwise everything is fine as it is.

AK: The clubs are completely different. This is a good thing and it should stay that way. But I wanted to solve the stadium problem – as in Halle. This gives safe planning.


What is the current state of the ice rink issue?

AK: We’re in talks with the city. It is heading in the right direction. Now maybe a better time will come for us, too. I wish it was four or five years ago. Then we will be further in relation to the sport.


Leipzig has an arcade crisis, what kind of crises does Halley have to deal with?

DM: We have three: an ice rink flood, and now the Corona crisis is our biggest construction site.

AK: When you lost in front of us, that was also a crisis.

McCullin: You also have it against us.


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