The ice-rink at the Friedrichspark was opened on the 19th of February 1939, a short while after the foundation of the club on the 19th of May 1938. The team managed to get out of the gate well and finished 2nd in the league twice in the 40s. After the 2nd world war the team stumbled and at the club´s lowest point only eight players played for the team in 1949. In the middle of the 50s the team was back as a premier club in Germany though. At the same time, in 1953, the arena, which had been equiped with a roof by the team, was turned over to the city of Mannheim. The construction of the roof had reduced the capacity from about 10.000 to 8.200, which is still the capacity of the building as of today. 1.900 of those 8.200 places are seats, the remaining 6.300 are standing-room only.
Despite the success on the ice the ultimate triumph, the winning of the national championship, took never place during these years. Strong hockey clubs from Bavaria (Füssen, Tölz and Riessersee) always finished ahead of Mannheim´s team and it seemed as if the team had ordered the 4th place in the standings in advance year after year. Near the end of the 60s the team started to struggle once again and dropped to the Oberliga, the 2nd division of hockey in Germany at that time, in 1971 after racking up 6:66 points during the regular season. The club needed seven good years to advance to the first division again, falling short year after year when teams from Cologne, Augsburg or Berlin finished a bit ahead of them and stole Mannheim´s chance to finally advance again.
Right after their return to first division hockey in 1977 the team rocked the whole league and became one of the best division-advancers ever. About 7.000 fans showed up on the average and in 1979/1980 the club finally won it´s first championship title. Things didn´t stay well for long though as financial problems hurt the club in the mid 80s. The fans turned their backs to the club and the team dropped in the standings. Nothing improved until 1992 and 1993 when the team made it to the semi-final in the playoffs. In 1997, 1998 and 1999 the team managed to capture the national title three times in a row, made it to the finals in 2000 and 2002 and won another title in 2001 so that Mannheim can be considered one of the best teams of the past decade in german hockey. Despite all the success the team went almost bankrupt in 1998 but got bailed out by SAP.
Somewhere down the road the construction of a new and modern arena should take place in Mannheim. Fans and officials already hoped for this in 1988 when a fire destroyed two adjacant rinks that were used as a talent-school for hockey in Mannheim and Germany. Plans for a new building with a capacity of up to 15.000 emerged but nothing materialized, the two missing rinks were instead replaced. In order to make up for this the city funded big improvements to the building but the arena at the Friedrichspark is plain simply outdated and not worthy of the team playing there.
Tipps for visitors
Hockey in Mannheim is -- at least since the mid 90s -- a very good show. Most games do not draw sellouts though and tickets should be easily available for all games despite real top-games and games in the playoffs. Seats might turn into a problem on any given night but standing room tickets should be available in bunches.
The arena itself can only be described as historic. Mannheim needs nothing more than a new building. The view from most of the seats and standing room places is mediocre as the arena is very flat and a tall fan in front can easily ruin the view. The arena is also open on the sides and not really warm in the winter so that one could be sure that attendance-figures would jump with a new and modern facility on hand. The food is also nothing to cheer about, but that is not really an exception but rather the norm at sportarenas (the Air Canada Center in Toronto might be an exception, a very expensive exception though).
Fans in Mannheim expect a lot from their team (kind of like in Detroit) and the atmosphere is not necessarily great if the action on the ice isn´t but who can blame them after the hockey they were able to watch during the past years? Cheering goal after goal is quiet exhausting as well and when things don´t go well the fans tend to relax a bit as well, at least as long as the effort displayed is okay. If it isn´t don´t be suprised to hear the fans turn onto their own team...
Adresses of the club:
Adress of the arena:
Adress of the team:
Mannheim Eishockey GmbH
Contact by phone:
Links to the team
www.adler-mannheim.de (official homepage)