Berlin & Brandenburg: Former polar bear captain Rankel ends playing career


Berlin (dpa / bb) – Club legend André Rankel from the Eisbären Berlin says goodbye to professional ice hockey. “Unfortunately, I have to end my career due to a shoulder injury,” said the long-time captain at a video press conference on Monday. “I would have liked to have played another two or three years and actually wanted to use this summer to get the shoulder done so that it is possible,” said the 35-year-old. “But then I had to realize that it was no longer feasible.”

Managing Director Peter John Lee praised the native of Berlin as “one of the great figureheads in polar bear history”: the winger had played for the capital city for 17 years, the last eight years as captain. Rankel was involved in all seven championships of the club in the German ice hockey league (DEL), with 247 hits in 865 league games he is the Eisbären record scorer. In view of these merits, Rankel’s jersey number 24 will no longer be awarded, Lee announced.

In recent years Rankel had suffered from injuries again and again, most recently the former striker had to take on a more defensive role in the team. So he was unable to agree on a new contract with the club after the previous season. Rankel is now hoping for a return: “Sooner or later, my goal is to stay in ice hockey – preferably with the Eisbären Berlin, of course, to make a difference there,” he said. “For me it is now important to acquire the knowledge for this. Ideally, I will study and support the polar bears where I can help.”

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