VBo Subr from the Mainmetrole has not yet seen much. The ice hockey coach who came to the Lions in the summer has not yet had the time. Once he was “downtown” to eat, he says. The native Czech lived in Canada for several years and prefers to speak English with journalists. Subr lives with his family in Bad Homburg, where he has already seen a lot. But the place where he spends most of the time is the ice rink: “And that’s a pretty good place.”
Pretty good, that also describes the general impression that Subr and sports director Franz-David Fritzmeier give a few days before the first game on Friday in Freiburg. All of the players in the squad are fit, something that wasn’t taken for granted at the start of the season in recent years. Personal questions have also been clarified: Max Faber will lead the team as captain, the American Jake Hildebrand is in the gate. “He won’t do 90 percent of the games though,” said Subr. Bastian Kucis will also get his time. “You shouldn’t overuse a goalkeeper when you have two good ones.”
Overall, the team is well positioned, there are many options for the upcoming games. The line-up for the season opener will be similar to the test match against the Tölzer Löwen last Sunday, which the Frankfurt team won 3-2 in a penalty shootout. In the previous home test match against the Oberliga club Saale Bulls Halle (5-0), the team had shown themselves to be more confident. “The players were eager to play again,” said Subr.
“A player like Wenzel is good for us”
Now the team wants to work on becoming more consistent, strengthening the defense, “bringing the puck more directly into the net,” as Subr put it. The coach said of the youngest Leo signing Yannick Wenzel: “He works hard and brings a lot of energy to the team.” Energy, a keyword for sporting director Fritzmeier: “This is important for our team. A player like Wenzel is good for us. “
Especially after the past few weeks. The Lions’ preparation went anything but “pretty well” in some respects, they lost about two weeks of training because several players fell ill with Covid-19 despite being vaccinated. Two test matches were canceled. “That has now shown us again that you always have to be prepared,” said Fritzmeier. It was important and nice that all players recovered quickly.
At the start of the season on Sunday and for the next home game on October 10, after extensive discussions with the Frankfurt Health Office, 3226 spectators are now admitted. The mask requirement does not apply to the 1464 seats, which are allocated in a checkerboard pattern, while the 1762 standing room remains in place. After the first two games, the club wants to draw a conclusion and possibly switch to a 2G model for the following matches in order to be able to play the Löwen games again without further capacity restrictions.
“We are wanted”
One thing is certain, however: The second division club wants to finally move up to the DEL this year. “We made sure that every player who came to us had this goal and didn’t want to make it comfortable in the second division in the long term,” said Fritzmeier. Many a club in the DEL would have an eye on Frankfurt, the fans of these big rivals wanted to see the Lions play in the first division: “The nice thing is that we are wanted.” Whether that works depends not least on the spectators who bring money to the club directly and indirectly through the sponsors.
Despite the losses due to Corona last year, despite the bumpy preparation, Fritzmeier is in a good mood. The club has stabilized economically: “I feel a hundred times better now than a year ago,” he said. The fans bring life into the hall. The new coach has already noticed how much that helps. “So far there haven’t been that many. But they were pretty loud, “said Subr.