An era is coming to an end in Munich this weekend. When members of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) elect a new executive committee in a hotel east of the city on Saturday, Franz Reindel will resign after two terms as president of the association that has decisively shaped him for nearly five decades. As a young national player, he co-winned the 1976 Olympic bronze medal. He later worked (without claiming to be complete) as the national coach, general secretary, general manager of the national team, sporting director and general manager of DEB GmbH as well as the organizer of three World Cup tournaments in Germany (2001, 2010, 2017)). In July 2014, Reindl took over as president when DEB was on the rocks in terms of sports, finances and atmosphere; He managed to reconcile the League and the German Ice Hockey League, with whom it was at odds, to lead DEL, DEL2 and their clubs to DEB (but not under its responsibility) and settle the complex relationship with the state ice sport. Associations (LEF). Reindl saw his greatest moment in February 2018, when the national team missed the gold medal by just 55.5 seconds in an unforgettable final against Olympic athletes from Russia – and the silver medal at Pyeongchang is the greatest success in German ice hockey history.
“It would be difficult to find someone who has done more for German ice hockey in the past 30 years than Franz Reindel,” former national team coach Uwe Krupp once said. Others say: No one has benefited from it.
Just before the summit, just one last presumably short of a career crowning goal, the 67-year-old’s involuntary descent began last June.
Reindel is the frontrunner in the IIHF elections – clearly defeated
During the 2021 World Cup in Latvia, when the DEB team stormed to the semi-finals and climbed to fifth place in the world rankings; When Reindl announced that he is running for the presidency of the IIHF: just at this moment of jubilation, the state associations of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein sent a request for information to the DEB. It was only an order from three “smaller associations,” the association noted. But it has developed explosive power. It was about Reindl’s potential conflict of interest in his dual position as honorary president and at the same time managing director of DEB GmbH, which was responsible for organizing the World Cup tournaments and was sometimes 50% funded by the marketer Infront. Among other things, LEV found it questionable why DEB GmbH would continue for several years after the 2017 World Cup, even though it didn’t turn a profit. Suspicion: Continuing to fund Reindl’s salary – including through Infront, against favorable conditions in the national team’s marketing.
The answers they received from the DEB did not satisfy the local threshold ventilation. They turned against the Ethics Committee of the German Olympics Federation. Although it declared itself irresponsible, it recommended that the matter be examined “comprehensively and independently” “urgently”. It should be clarified “whether there is hidden funding for the honorary post of the president.” In the first draft of a preliminary report to the commission, which was subsequently corrected, it can be read that there could be suspicions that a criminal offense had been committed. DEB spoke of an “artificial accusation”.
Reindel finds himself comfortable with a report his critics don’t recognize as an independent
The conflict lasted until the fall and overshadowed Reindl’s IIHF campaign. In the presidential election, French favorite Luc Tardiff surprisingly defeated Garmisch-Partenkirchner—especially in such clarity: by 39:67 votes. And last but not least, he blamed “unauthorized checks from behind” of his rank.
In order to refute the allegations against Reindl, DEB requested an expert opinion from the Cologne-based law firm Verte in October 2021. Six months later, they submitted their final 221-page report. Brief summary: Reindl was not guilty of anything punishable and for the money he received for “services consistently rendered”, including preparing for the 2027 World Cup request. But there was a fire under the roof of DEB for a long time. The sports director and press spokesperson have been replaced, and it is said that there are real fights between staff at the headquarters.
‘Hate’ and ‘will to annihilate’ – his reputation irreparably damaged, says Reindel
At the beginning of this year, Hendrik Jan Ansink, president of the Hesse Hockey Society and member of the DEL2 Supervisory Board, filed a criminal complaint against Reindl – among other things on suspicion of “giving advantage and breach of trust on account of DEB”. Reindl’s critics do not recognize Verte’s report as an independent report because it was ordered by DEB. There is now a second criminal complaint against Reindl and his deputy, Berthold Wipfler, also on suspicion of infidelity: since 2015, DEB has allegedly been withholding contractually guaranteed posts from the DEL cooperation agreement from state associations. This announcement comes from Wolfgang Sorge, former Treasurer of DEB and Honorary President of LEV North Rhine-Westphalia. In his opinion, the LEV NRW alone should be entitled to an amount in the mid-six-figure range. Proceedings have been pending in the 1st Munich Regional Court since 2018. However, the interests of clubs from North Rhine-Westphalia have not been represented by LEV NRW since 2015, but by the NRW ice hockey association, which was founded at that time.
The Munich 1 public prosecutor announced that it would likely take “several months” before the investigation could be completed. For Reindl, the problem is “closed”. He feels “relieved” about Vert’s report. “The struggle is no longer for me,” SZ Reindl said on Friday. Indeed, Reindl’s critics withdrew some of the suggestions in the days leading up to the meeting so as not to weigh down a fresh start. The comparison also appears in a legal dispute with the Bavarian ice sports federation, which has been going on for years, over three-quarters of a million euros in cooperation fees and union fees: the two sides agreed on about a third of the amount. DEB members must vote on it.
A trio is ready for the new presidency – only one deputy from the previous one will come again
Rendel has largely retired in recent months and ruled out a third term. He says the damage to his reputation is irreparable. Like a famous artist expecting applause but only getting more boos, he says, “I’m glad I left this stage now. In Germany, you get dumped dirt and you’re supposed to clean it up yourself afterwards.” He couldn’t explain why he faced such a thing Hate” and “the will to destroy” at the end of his career. “But I leave with pride and gratitude. DEB has progressed well in terms of sport and business.”
He wants to reserve his place on the board of the IIHF, the highest body in the world federation. Wipfler and Daniel Hopp, the managing directors at Adler Mannheim, also no longer serve as vice presidents. As successors: Peter Merten, 68, former industrial captain, chair of the DEL2 Supervisory Board and guarantor of Reindl’s opposition, for the vacant presidential position; Huck Haselbring, Managing Director of First Division Club Bremerhaven, Financial Management; and former national player Andreas Niederberger, father of national goalkeeper Matthias Niederberger. Mark Hendelang is the only Vice President from the previous presidency to have re-emerged as an amateur representative. Participants report constructive rounds of introductions. “I have confidence in the new president and his team that they know how to deal with potential legacy issues,” wrote Hendrik Ansink. They just have to be elected now.