|National federation||German Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||September 19, 1909|
|Top league||Deutsche Eishockey Liga|
|Current champion||Adler Mannheim|
|Deutsche Eishockey Liga||1994||-||Top-level national competition|
|Deutsche Eishockey Liga 2||2013||-||Second-level national competition|
|Oberliga||1973||-||Third-level national competition*|
|Regionalliga||1961||-||Fourth-level national competition**|
|German Regional Leagues||1975||-||Fifth-level regional competitions|
|German Cup||1969||-||National cup competition|
|Berlin Championship||1909||1912||Defunct city championship|
|German Championship||1912||1948||Defunct national championship|
|Deutsche Winterkampfspiele||1922||1934||Defunct Olympic-style competition|
|Eishockey-Bundesliga||1958||1994||Defunct top-level competition|
|German Landesliga||1951||1961||Defunct second-level competition***|
|2nd Bundesliga||1973||2013||Defunct second-level competition|
|Fraueneishockey-Bundesliga||1983||-||Top-level women's competition|
|German Women's 2. Liga North||2001||-||Second-level women's competition|
|German Women's Regional Leagues||2085||-||Regional women's competitions|
|German junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
(*Oberliga was top-level league from 1948-1958 and the second-tier competition from 1959-1973. **Regionalliga was the third-level competition from 1961-1973. ***Landesliga was the third-level competition from 1958-1961.)
History of hockey in Germany
The German National Skating Union was formed in 1888, and the first ice hockey game in Germany was played on February 4, 1897 at Lake Halensee in the capital city of Berlin. The first indoor ice rink opened in Berlin in 1908. The renamed Deutscher Eislaufverband was the governing body of hockey in Germany up to 1945.
Germany joined the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace] (the present day IIHF) on September 19, 1909. After World War I, Germany was excluded from the IIHF between 1920 and 1926. During that time, German club teams continued to compete at the Spengler Cup, where Berliner Schlittschuclub was victorious in 1924, 1926, and 1928. After World War II, the Germans were again excluded from the IIHF. They were reinstated as the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in 1951. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) became a member of the IIHF in 1954.
After World War II, the Deutsche Eissport-Verband was dissolved and replaced by two successor organizations, the Deutsche Eis- und Rollsport Arbeitsgemeinschaft (DERAG) and the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Eissport (DAGE). In Mannheim in 1949, the Deutscher Eissport-Verband was founded in place of the old union to serve as West Germany's ice sports governing body. In 1963, the German Hockey Union (DEB) was created as ice hockey's governing body in West Germany. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the DEB became the sole federation nationwide.
The first national championship was contested in 1912. Prior to that, the City of Berlin Championship had been contested been 1910 and 1912. The national championship was contested until 1948, when the Oberliga was founded as the new top level league in West Germany. Berliner Schlittschuhclub had mostly dominated up to this point, but EV Füssen became the new team to beat in the Oberliga era, winning six titles between 1948 and 1958.
The Oberliga was replaced by the Eishockey-Bundesliga in 1958. The Bundesliga operated as the top level league until 1994 (after the German reunification in 1990 it also included teams from the former East Germany), when the Deutsche Eishockey Liga was founded. Berliner SC, which has won the most German championships, with 20, regained their mantle as champions in 1974 and 1976, but those would be the club's last two titles.
The Oberliga operated as the second tier of German hockey between 1958 and 1973, before the 2nd Bundesliga was founded as the second level league in 1973. Since then, the Oberliga has operated as the third tier of German hockey. The 2nd Bundesliga was replaced by the DEL 2 in 2013. The Regionalliga was founded as the Gruppenliga in 1961, and took on its present name in 1966. From 1961-1973, it was the third level of German hockey, before being dropped to the fourth level for the 1973-74 season.
The men's national team made its international debut at the 1910 European Championship held in Les Avants, Switzerland, taking the silver medal. They participated in the individual European Championships a total of eight times between 1910 and 1932, winning the silver medal four times and the bronze medal twice.
At the LIHG Championships, which were contested between 1912 and 1914, Germany won the gold medal twice and the silver medal once. At the combined European Championships, they won the gold medal twice, the silver medal once, and the bronze medal five times. In 1930, they participated in the first World Championship, winning the silver medal. They won the silver medal again at the World Championships in 1953, and claimed the bronze medal once, in 1934.
The German national team made its debut at the Olympic Games in 1928, and made an appearance at every Olympic tournament (bar 1948) until 2010, winning the bronze medal in 1932 and 1976. The 1976 bronze was heralded as one of the great moments in German hockey. Germany failed to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics, breaking their long string of Olympic appearances.
The West German national team participated in the 1984 Canada Cup and turned in a respectable performance despite finishing last. Their roster included Erich Kuhnhackl, a 1997 IIHF Hall of Fame inductee, and the most prominent West German player during the 1970s and 1980s. Another notable name was that of Udo Kiessling, who was selected to the World Championship All-Star Team in 1987.
After re-unification, Germany nearly scored a significant upset at the 1992 Winter Olympics when they took Canada to a shoot-out in the quarterfinals. The Germans finished second in their pool at the 1994 Winter Olympics before falling to Sweden in the quarterfinals. At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Germany finished second to Belarus in the preliminary round, which kept them from advancing to the championship stage. They were relegated to the B Pool of the World Championships for the first time since 1975 that year as well. They returned to the A Pool after winning the B Pool in 2000.
Uwe Krupp became the second German-born player and the first to grow up playing hockey in Germany to play in the National Hockey League when he played 26 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 1986-87. After his playing career ended, Krupp became coach of the German National Team, leading them to to a fourth-place finish at the 2010 World Championships (hosted by Germany). This was Germany's best result at a World Championship since winning the silver medal in 1953.
Some of the best German players of all-time include: Paul Ambros, Rudi Ball, Ignaz Berndaner, Rolf Bielas, Thomas Brandl, Helmut De Raaf, Christian Ehrhoff, Reinhard Fengler, Georg Franz, Dieter Frenzel, Karl Friesen, Lorenz Funk, Marcel Goc, Jochen Hecht, Dieter Hegen, Josef Heiss, Uli Hiemer, Ernst Hofner, Gustav Jaenecke, Udo Kiessling, H.-P. Kretschmer, Uwe Krupp, Daniel Kreutzer, Marcus Kuhl, Erich Kuhnhackl, Joachim Lempio, Rainer Patschinski, Rainer Philipp, Franz Reindl , Roy Roedger, Peter Scharf, Alois Schloder, Otto Schneitberger, Peter Slapke, Marco Sturm, Ernst Trautwein, Gerd Truntschka,Erich Weishaupt, and Hans Zach.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene in 1988, playing a doubleheader against Switzerland, losing the first game 6-5, and tying the second game 2-all. They participated in all five IIHF European Women Championships, held between 1989 and 1996, winning the bronze medal at the 1989 edition. Germany played in the first Women's World Championship in 1990, finishing in seventh place. Their best finish at the Women's World Championship was fifth in 2001, 2005 and 2013. The women's national team has appeared twice at the Olympics, finishing sixth in 2002 and fifth in 2006. The women's U18 national team has participated in the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships since 2008, finishing as high as fourth in 2010 and 2012.