Due to the bankruptcy proceedings during the 1999/2000 season there is currently no
professional hockey in Nordhorn. The club performs in some lower regional divisions at the
moment and there might be a 2nd league-team again in the far-future but for the moment
there are only memories and a pretty empty arena on hand with attendance figures between
700 and 1500. All my visits to the arena have been a great pleasure and I surely wish the
best to hockey in Nordhorn; there are not many places in the world that rock as much as a
sold-out arena in Nordhorn. Maybe one day the ECE Bully-Dogs, the current team performing
at the arena, will be able to continue where the Nordhorn Ritters finished in 1999/2000.
Right in the sportpark of Nordhorn the ice-rink is located near the public swimming-pool and indoor tennis-courts. The ex-home of the Nordhorner Ritter (Knights) has a capacity of 3.500 which is was more than enough for the locals and the sporadic road-fans who found their way to the games in the rural area of Nordhorn.
The arena is compareable in size to the arena of the Iserlohn EC. Of all arenas of this size I have visited so far no one comes even close to the arena in Nordhorn though. At many games a (small) big-band played (as one knows it from high school or college-sports in the US), a very loveable difference to the mainstream-music that is being played in almost all other arenas. Decorated with christmas-light-chains inside there is also a very comfortable feeling around. But the building also has it´s shortcomings. If you didn´t have tickets in advance you could expect to wait almost forever at the 2 ticket-windows at the entrance, if you had tickets, well, it´s a tiny entrance so you had to check yourself through the people waiting in line to get tickets. There are also only about 2 toilets (slight exaggeration) in the whole arena, the restaurant is totally undersized for game-days and the concession-stands didn´t really offer a wide varierty of food. It was the atmosphere, not the comfort, what made hockey in Nordhorn special.
Tickets sold for 15 marks for standing and 25 for seating, a factor that played a big role in the nice attendance figures if one consideres the fact that Nordhorn has only about 50.000 inhabitants (attendance varied between 2.000 and 3.000, for top-games I had the impression that more than 3.500 tickets were printed but I didn´t have an opportunity to count and the team probably wouldn´t admit it).
Getting to Nordhorn is pretty easy. If you take the autobahn running from Osnabrueck to
Amsterdam you will eventually pass by an exit to Nordhorn after about 70 kilometeres. Once
you´re in town you will notice the signs leading to the sportsparc and the arena and
well, you´re there....
Links to the team:
(ex-homepage, might be down by now): www.gec-nordhorn.de