Coaches and 13 players leave Löwen Frankfurt
EA week after the end of the season in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) it was no longer a surprise what the Lowen Frankfurt announced at their end-of-season celebration: Over the past few weeks, it had become apparent that, in addition to a large number of players, coach Gerry Fleming would also be leaving the club. The coach and sports director Franz-David Fritzmeier did not always agree, for example when it came to the playing times of younger players. The upcoming separation from Fleming, under whom Frankfurt had played a stable season but had not developed further in some areas, had been an open secret for a long time. Now it has been officially confirmed by the lions, who are breaking new ground in the coming season.
13 players will leave the club, eleven will stay, including Nathan Burns, Rylan Schwartz, Yannick Wenzel, Chad Nehring, Constantin Vogt and Markus Freis. The 33-year-old Schwartz is “an important factor on and off the ice,” explained the sports director Franz David Fritzmeier the further commitment: “With his great experience, his professionalism, coupled with a certain ease, he is one who unites the generations in the dressing room.” Fritzmeier appreciates the qualities of Nehring, who only switched to Main during the course of the season Faceoff point, its variability and goal threat. Wenzel and Burns as well as the much younger Vogt and Freis are players in whom the sporting director sees potential. He had already extended with Reid McNeill, Daniel Wirt, Carter Rowney, Brett Breitkreuz and Dominik Bokk.
Fluctuation is always high
Three important pillars of the team will be missing in the future: In addition to defender Kevin Maginot, who is likely to move to Ingolstadt, the departures of the constant goalkeeper Jake Hildebrand and the accurate striker Brendan Ranford are particularly painful. The club would certainly have liked to keep all three – but probably had to let them go for financial reasons. Reece Scarlett, Simon Sezemsky, Jerry D’Amigo, Ryon Moser, Dylan Wruck, Carson McMillan and David Elsner kept flashing their potential. But they all played too inconsistently to recommend themselves for a new contract in Frankfurt.
The fluctuation in ice Hockey is always big. The fact that 13 players are leaving the club at first glance may seem like too big a change for a promoted team, who even surpassed his goal for the season by reaching the pre-play-offs with tenth place. However, there is a plan behind it. After promotion, the club’s goal was to take the positive mood from the successful year in the DEL2 to the upper house. That succeeded. The start of the season was extremely good.
After that, however, the team stagnated and scored fewer and fewer points, which ultimately was also a question of quality. With Bietigheim, a team that ended up far behind at the bottom of the table has been relegated. The league is likely to get much tighter in 2023/24. Fritzmeier has recognized this and wants to strengthen the team, especially in the second center position, as he announced some time ago.
More goal danger away from the first row is the declared goal to move forward. “We will be better next year because we are developing further,” said the managing partner of the Löwen Frankfurt, Stefan Krämer, recently to the “Eishockey News”. With many players who will now leave the Löwen Frankfurt, that would probably not have been possible.