The Adler Mannheim ('Mannheim Eagles', formerly Mannheimer ERC) are a professional ice hockey team of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the highest-level ice hockey league in Germany. The team is based in Mannheim, a city in the northern part of Baden-Württemberg. Currently, the team plays at SAP Arena, where they moved to at the beginning of the 2005–06 season after having played at Eisstadion am Friedrichspark for nearly seven decades from 1938 through 2005. They have won the German Championship a total of eight times, seven of those coming after 1994 in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
|League||Deutsche Eishockey Liga|
|Home arena||SAP Arena|
|Colours||Blue, White, Red|
|Owner(s)||Die Adler Mannheim Eishockey Spielbetriebs GmbH + Co. KG|
|General manager||Jan-Axel Alavaara|
|Head coach||Pavel Gross|
|Championships||81 (1980, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2007, 2015, 2019) 1One Eishockey Bundesliga championship and seven DEL championships|
|1938–1994||Mannheimer Eis- und Rollsport-Club (MERC)|
German ice hockey changed a lot after the Deutsche Eishockey Liga was founded in 1994. Its growing influence also brought growing independence from the Deutscher Eishockey-Bund-organization (DEB) which dominated the ice hockey in Germany for decades.
The first incarnation of the Adler Mannheim were The Mannheimer ice and roller skating club (MERC: Mannheimer Eis- und Rollsportclub), founded on 19 May 1938. On 19 February 1939, they had their introduction match in the brand new Friedrichspark Stadium. The match against the winner of the German Championship was lost 0–11, but the following seasons were more and more successful. However, due to the ongoing Second World War, it was difficult to play a regular season without some limitations. In 1942, after the Mannheim was qualified for the finals, the proclamation of the total war led to the cancellation of the finals, less than 24 hours before their scheduled beginning.
On 5 June 1943, the Eisstadion am Friedrichspark was destroyed by an air attack on Mannheim. After the end of the Second World War in 1945, it took another four years before the hockey club began playing once again. In the 1951/52 season, Mannheim again had a team to play in a regular team, but it was not very successful. The most successful game in this time was a 10–2 victory against a team of American soldiers based in the Mannheim-area.
Promotion to first division and first German championshipEdit
In 1978, the Adler Mannheim achieved the promotion to the first division of Eishockey Bundesliga. In order to be able to set up a team with the limited budget, the Adler and their coach Heinz Weisenbach went new ways. He traveled to North America to search specifically for players with German roots. With Harold Kreis, Manfred "Mannix" Wolf, Roy Roedger and Peter Ascherl, the first "German Canadians" were transferred into the Eishockey Bundesliga. Additionally, Mannheim acquired the national goalkeeper Erich Weishaupt from the Berliner Schlittschuhclub (Berliner SC). After a sixth place in the debut season, Mannheim strengthened their squad with Ron Andruff and Holger Meitinger and the national players Mannheimer Marcus Kuhl (Cologne) and Peter Obresa (Bad Nauheim). In a complicated tournament mode, from preliminary round, second round and championship round, the Adler finally could win the German championship for the first time. The title win was made perfect by a victory in Berlin, so that the Mannheim players warmed-up in tails and cylinders before the last, meaningless home game against Cologne EC.
Four DEL championships in 5 yearsEdit
In 1994, the Mannheimer ERC was a founding member of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. While the organization of the MERC still existed, the professional hockey team changed its name to Adler Mannheim and was transformed into an independent legal entity called "Die Adler Mannheim Eishockey Spielbetriebs GmbH + Co. KG". The old organization MERC still performs in the amateur and junior sectors, including the successful junior team Jungadler Mannheim (young eagles Mannheim) (DNL).
The first two seasons in the DEL ended in playoff quarter finals, but the following season changed everything: the Mannheimer Adler swept through the playoffs. At the minimum number of nine games, they won the championship in 1997. After also winning the championships in 1998 and 1999, head coach Lance Nethery and several players left the team.
After a disastrous start to the regular 1999–2000 season, the Adler reached the playoffs again, but were beaten in the quarter finals again. After that season, head coach Chris Valentine had to go and was succeeded by Bill Stewart. In 2000/2001, they were back on the road to success with the fourth DEL championship in five years.
In their final season at Friedrichspark, Mannheim native Jochen Hecht (Buffalo Sabres), Cristobal Huet (Montreal Canadiens), Yannick Tremblay (Atlanta Thrashers) and Sven Butenschön (New York Islanders) joined the Adler during the 2004–05 NHL lockout. The team made it to the finals, but were defeated by the Eisbären Berlin.
Move to SAP Arena and 5th DEL championshipEdit
The following season was disastrous. In their new home, the SAP Arena, the team was at position 10 at the end of the regular season. It was the first time in 26 years that the Adler Mannheim did not qualify for the playoffs.
Making several changes in the team roster, the team celebrated its resurrection in the following 2006–07 season. After winning the German Cup, they finished in first place in the regular season and then won their fifth DEL Championship.
Adler Mannheim and the NHLEdit
On 6th Juli 2010, Adler Mannheim competed against the San Jose Sharks at the 2011 NHL Premiere Challenge 2010. German national player Manuel Klinge scored for Mannheim in the 5th minute, San Jose equalized with a goal by Jamie McGinn (54th minute). After Devin Setoguchi scored for San Jose, Mannheim's Jame Pollock scored the equalizer at minute 57. In the shoot-out, it was Dan Boyle who scored with the decisive penalty shot for the Sharks.
The Adler participated in the 2011 NHL Premiere series, losing to the Buffalo Sabres 8–3. The Sabres (who count among its players Mannheim native Jochen Hecht) were very well received in Mannheim, and later that season, a contingent of Adler fans traveled to Buffalo and Toronto to witness games hosted by the Sabres and Maple Leafs.
During the 2012 NHL lockout, the Adler Mannheim became a popular team for the lockout-players again. The former Mannheim-players Dennis Seidenberg (Boston Bruins) and Marcel Goc (Florida Panthers) joined the team once more. They were followed by Jason Pominville, captain of the Buffalo Sabres and again Jochen Hecht who was a free agent since his injury in early 2012. Hecht signed a contract (with a NHL-Out paragraph) until 2014, but after the lockout came to an end, he was offered a new, one-year contract by the Buffalo Sabres. After the Sabres contract expired, Hecht announced his intention to return to Mannheim to finish his professional career. Tim Stützle was drafted 3rd overall by the Ottawa Senators in th 2020 NHL Draft and is currently on the main roster.
6th DEL championship and turbulent timesEdit
On 19 June 2014, Mannheim hired Boston Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward as their new head coach. After winning the regular season with nine points ahead of the second-placed EHC Red Bull München, the Adler won the quarter-final series against the Nürnberg Ice Tigers with 4–1. In the semi-finals, the Adler swept Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg with 4–0 victories – even after being down 0–3 goals in three of the games. In the final, Mannheim finally met ERC Ingolstadt. After a devastating 1–6 loss in the third game with Ingolstadt taking the 2–1 lead in the final series, the Eagles could turn the series and won all remaining finals. With 4–2 victories, the Adler Mannheim were able to win their sixth DEL championship.
After the 2014–15 season, Ward returned to the NHL and was replaced by Greg Ireland. Ireland was sacked in February 2016, Craig Woodcroft, who had joined the Adler coaching staff in 2014, was promoted to head coach. Woodcroft failed to guide the Adler squad to the playoffs and left after the 2015–16 season. In May 2016, Sean Simpson was named new head coach.
Successful transition and 7th DEL championshipEdit
On 4 December 2017, GM Teal Fowler, head coach Simpson and assistant coach Colin Muller were sacked due to unsatisfactory results. Bill Stewart, who had guided the club to the 2001 DEL title, took over the head coaching job. During the 2017–2018 season, the Adler Mannheim announced Jan-Axel Alavaara as the new GM and Pavel Gross as their new head coach assisted by Mike Pellegrims and Pertti Hasanen.
The Adler finished their regular season 2018–2019 in 1st position with a new point average record of 2,23 points per game and won the DEL title 2018–19 defeating EHC Red Bull München 4 to 1 in the playoff finals. During the summer break, the Mannheimer Adler released their long-time team captain Marcus Kink – his successor is 699 times NHL veteran and German national player Marcel Goc. Also during the summer-break 2019, Adler Mannheim's rookie defenseman Moritz Seider was drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, sixth overall, by the Detroit Red Wings. Seider was the first German defenseman to be selected in the first round of an NHL Entry Draft, and the fourth-highest German-born player to be selected. On 14 July 2019, he was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Detroit Red Wings.
- Deutsche Eishockey Liga
- Deutscher Eishockey-Pokal
- Winners: 2003, 2007
- Runners-up: 2006
- Winners: 1980
- Runners-up: 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987
- Lehner Cup : Runners-up 2017, 2018
- Spengler Cup : 1958, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015
Updated 7 February, 2021.