History

History

The Mannheim ERC was founded on 19 May 1938, the first Ice Hockey game was played in the new Ice Hall Friedrichspark in 1939. The premier game was a decisive loss 0:11 but the young Ice Hockey pioneers did not let the loss influence them as they continued on their course. In 1942 Mannheim reached the finals of the German Championships but due to World War II the final game was called off, which was again the case a year later in 1943. Shortly after that the Ice Hall was destroyed of an allied bombing. In 1949, four years after the war, things slowly started to move forward again for Ice Hockey in Mannheim.

In the start of the 1950’s Mannheim once again had a team that participate regularly in friendship games as well as taking part in regular season games to reach the Championships. In 1956 they reached the German Oberliga (first league) but were knocked out of that league just one year later. In their second chance in the Oberliga in 1958 they were able to secure their niche in the German top league. Mannheim played 13 years in the Bundesliga, then the name of the German first league. In the beginning the power was in the Bavarian teams from Fuessen, Bad Toelz, and Riessersee, but Mannheim took on the Bavarian Phalanx in the early 1960s, often leaving the top clubs from the south behind them.

The momentum however ended in the late 1960s. The renovation of the Ice Hall at the end of the 1960s saw the completion of a roof over the entire hall. A large part of the renovations were financed by the MERC which put too large of a burden of the finances of the club causing a lack of money for the team itself. After a catastrophic season in 1970-71 with only three wins and 36 losses Mannheim fell back to the Second Bundesliga (then called the Oberliga) and spent seven long years there.

It wasn’t until 1978 that Mannheim was able to reenter the German top League. Under Coach Heinz Weisenbach, Mannheim once again saw a top team. A solid first year in the Bundesliga (1978-79) was followed by the big step in 1980, Mannheim finally won the German Championship and established themselves as a top team in German Ice Hockey. Mannheim game in second place four times during the 1980s, while unable to win another championship they were always upfront and had created their mark on German Ice Hockey.

The middle of the 1990s were the glory days for the Mannheim Club. After the formation of the German Ice Hockey League (DEL), the MERC formed the Adler Mannheim and wrote Ice Hockey History from 1997-1999 earning three Championships in a row. The teams coached by Lance Nethery dominated the DEL for many years. Once again in 2001 the Championship was bought home to Mannheim. Things calmed down for awhile and although Mannheim found themselves in the final in 2002 and 2005 they would have to wait until 2007 to win another title. This was the first title after the move from Friedrichpark to the modern, 13,600 seat SAP Arena in 2005. The atmosphere in April 2007 in the sold out SAP Arena will never be forgotten. Between 2007 and 2012 things have been rather quite for the Adler. In 2011 Mannheim once again found themselves back on the road to success under Head Coach Harold Kreis (Head Coach since 2010). The Adler finally made it back to the finals in 2012. The Championship was within reach but in Game four of a dramatic play-off series against Berlin, the Adler lost giving up a 5-2 lead 14 minutes before the end of the game. They lost in overtime 5:6 and lost game five in Berlin deflating their dreams of a sixth title win in the DEL.


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