Christian Ehrhoff played skaterhockey in Krefeld and spoke about his NHL careerThree goals and many autographs
Christian Ehrhoff smiled a little bit. „I think, some players didn't believe their coach, when he told them I would practice with the team“, die German NHL defender said. But it wasn't just practice. The former defenseman of the Pittsburgh Penguins played on friday evening for the Crefelder SC in the second German skaterhockey league – and it was a success: His Skating Bears won the top game against TSV Schwabmünchen 18:5 (6:1, 6:2, 6:2). Skaterhockey is a variation of inlinehockey played with a ball in smaller rinks and with body contact. (Pictures - look here >>)
„I am back in Krefeld for round about three weeks“, Ehrhoff stated. Born in Moers Krefeld is the place where Ehrhoff learnd playing hockey and became German Champion in the DEL with the Krefeld Penguins in 2003. The way from the NHL to the 2nd German skaterhockey league seems to be a far one, but for Ehrhoff it was short. The Skating Bears' coach is Fabian Peelen. „We are pals for an eternity. We played together for Krefeld's youth teams“, Ehrhoff explained. So the 814 time NHL player went to the team's practice. „It is a good opporturnity for stay fit.“ As Peelen asked him whether he wants to play a game for them, Ehrhoff agreed.
Meantime this game is not the most important thing in Ehrhoff's career. After only one season with the Pittsburgh Penguins he is going to leave the team. After dissolving his 10-year-contract with the Buffalos Sabres because Ehrhoff was not happy with the Sabres' team development he came to Pittsburgh – which now stated not to give a new contract proposal to the German defender. Ehrhoff wasn't surprised. „For some time I am already looking for a new team“, he said. „My player's agent negotiates for me. I talked with him about the opportunities and told him my priorities.“ Of course Ehrhoff did not speak about those opportunities.
The 2014-15 season was not a optimal one – neither for the Penguins nor for Ehrhoff. The German made only 49 games in the regular season and did not play in the for the Penguins short lives playoffs. „I came to Pittsburgh to be on a team that is capable to win the Stanley Cup. To be in the stands while the team plays is hard.“ Two concussions stopped Ehrhoff. „After the first concussion I played seven games and suffered the second one.“ Up to now Ehrhoff is fit again. „The doctors said everything is fine.“ For the Pengiuins the season startet well but got worse and worse the more players missed the games due to injuries.
What is quite important for Ehrhoff while selecting a new team is the environment. „My eldest daughter will enter school for the next term.“ So Ehrhoff future summer times in Germany will become shorter. Nevertheless he wants to play for Team Germany in upcoming World Championships if he should not play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
His expiring contract made it easy to play skaterhockey in Krefeld. „While playing a World Championship I am secured by the international federation. During lockout I had to have a special insurance. As I am free agent it was now my own risk to play skaterhockey for Krefeld.“
But this game wasn’t just a risk – it was fun, especially for the team and fans in Krefeld. The Arena Horkesgath was as good as sold out – with roundabout 400 fans. When Ehrhoff scored the goal for the 1:0 lead, the script was perfect. “He pushed the whole team”, Krefeld’s captain Wasja Steinborn said. “He talked in the locker room, gave us hints, was fully intregrated.” Fabian Peelen, coach and Ehrhoff’s pal stated: “We would have won without Chris, but not that high. Just my his presence everyone gave his best. The crowded rink pushed us even more.” Ehrhoff said: „It was exhausting – but it was fun as well.“
And after this Ehrhoff wrote a lot of autographs, posed with fans for many photos – and made many Krefeld fans happy. Just the way Christian Ehrhoff is.