Eisbären Berlin not only won 5 national championships in the last 7 years but are also defending champions of the European Trophy after capturing the first title in 2010 in beating Swedish HV 71 in a high level final game of the Red Bulls Salute in Salzburg.
The team from Germany’s capital won the German elite league DEL in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011 tying Adler Mannheim’s record of 5 DEL championships since the league was founded in 1994.
Berlin came a very long way to gain glory like that. The team’s history is one of the most exciting and interesting stories of German sports as the roots of the Eisbären reach back to the 15-time East German champion Dynamo Berlin. Since the wall – that separated Germany and Berlin for more than 28 years – came down the Eisbären have been one of the few sports teams of the former East that managed to establish themselves in the highest division of their respective sport. After struggling to gain success for the first few seasons the Eisbären found their way back to their winning ways of the Dynamo tradition in late nineties. Back then they just could not win titles finishing 2nd (to Mannheim) in the DEL in 1998, in the IIHF Continental Cup 1997/98 and 1999/2000 as well as 3rd in the European Hockey League 1999.
With the start of the new millennium the Eisbären have constantly improved and established themselves as one of Germany’s premier hockey clubs known for its fast and offensive style of hockey. Mainly responsible for this: General Manager Peter Lee as well as the coaches Don Jackson (2007-today) and Pierre Pagé (2002-2007).
But the Eisbären (engl. polar bears) are more than just a successful hockey team: Traditionally the Eisbären can count on a strong support by their fan base and sponsors even after moving from the so called ‘Wellblechpalast’ arena (capacity 4695) to the brand-new o2 World (capacity 14.200) in 2008. The relationship is one of passion and emotion. Being an Eisbär is a way of life or as fan saying goes: "Once an Eisbär, always an Eisbär".
The fan favorite: André Rankel
André Rankel just recently became a fan favorite for Eisbären Berlin’s singing and cheering crowd after having scored 9 goals and 9 Assists in 12 games in Eisbären’s 2011 Championship playoff run.
Rankel is a Berlin born guy who joined the Eisbären in 2003 after learning his first hockey skills with the Berlin Young Capitals. The Forward that plays wing most of the times impresses the opponents and fans with both a real good wrist and slap shot. He is a fast player and feared checker.
Interesting new player: Darin Olver
Darin Olver signed with the Eisbären Berlin this summer. He moves from Augsburg to Berlin. With Augsburger Panther of the DEL he very surprisingly moved on to the DEL playoff finals in 2010. He was the league’s top scorer this past season scoring 23 goals and 47 assists.
Even though NHL’s New York Rangers drafted him in Round 2 in the 2004 Entry-Draft, he had to move his way up in Germany through the second level of pro hockey and became a very dangerous goal scorer and even better passer.European Trophy