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We had a really good chance to go all the way

Interview met coach Bo Subr (2)

Why did you have so much trouble against Hamburg Crocodiles and Hannover Indians?

‘They gave us a hard time. Still we won 6 out of the 8 games we played against them. Indians as well as Crocodiles didn’t allow a lot of goals through the year. Hannover had 117 goals against. Just like us. Hamburg was right behind with 122.

Both teams take pride in their defensive responsibilities in their own zone. They focus on shutting things down. They give you shots from the outside and protect the front of the net. Their goalies played really well when we played them. If you look at our 4 games against the Crocodiles, we had 168 shots on net and they only had 95. But still our two home games went to overtime and the games in Hamburg we lost 4-2 and 3-1.

Playing am Pferdeturm is always tough. The building is loud. If you take away the last game we played them they’re well-structured defensively. Other than that, Indians have a coach who has been a really good hockey player himself. Lenny Soccio has a decent hockey resume. He put up points anywhere he played even at the Olympics for Germany. He’s a smart hockey guy so they were well prepared against us every time.’

Who was the biggest surprise in your team?

‘Everybody played to the best of his abilities but Ninho Hessels played even better to what we expected from him. He was in good shape when he came in. He was willing to work hard in order to get better. With Ryan (Collier) going down it opened more ice time for other guys. Ninho was able to play with a five-man rotation at times and did a great job putting in close to 20 minutes in a lot of games as a 19-year-old. That was good to see.

The only downfall he had was when he was playing with the BeNe league team and got the 2-game suspension. But 2 games out in the BeNe league took him out for 6 games in the Oberliga. He was basically not playing for a month. While coming back he got sick, so he couldn’t practice. Then he left with the U20 National Team for the World Championships in Korea. I (and Ninho probably too) would like those two months back and make other decisions to make sure he would not end up without games for a month. But I also have to mention Jonne (de Bonth) who progressed well and was able to play in all situations for us and even helped out on defense when really needed.’

What were your expectations for the play-offs?

‘I think we would have had a real good chance to go all the way. Obviously, everybody was getting healthy. Max (Hermens) was skating after missing the final 4 games of the regular season with a groin injury. Ryan (Collier) was ready to go. So, we could have rolled 4 lines, which is a big advantage in the postseason.

Everybody was really disappointed with the way the season ended. I think the guys surprised a lot of people the way they played. It feels weird. We didn’t lose, so we should be playing. We were preparing for our first round series against Selber Wölfe. But at the same time, we understand the health concerns and that it was something out of our control.

I like to thank all the players. Josh who did a tremendous job (not only with the first team). The people from the front office for all the effort and time they put in over the past 8 of 9 months. And the fans of course, they filled Stappegoor on a regular basis and were our extra strength every game. Plus a lot of them went to our road games as well to show the support. It was a great regular season and hopefully we can start a new one on time and in a manner like we finished this one.’

Was it a surprise to you Mitch Bruijsten wasn’t voted best player in the Oberliga Nord?

‘Actually I was. Knowing the league. Knowing the players around. How effective they can be on their own and how much they make the players around them better. As coaches we had to make a top-10. We had Mitch as our number 1. We had Dominik Lascheit on that list as well. I’ve seen him play. Offensively he’s very good, but Mitch has more to his game all around.

I work with Mitch every day. It’s great to have a guy around like that. He’s the player that leads by example, outworks everybody during the game, outworks everybody during practice. He would not have missed a minute if not for that silly game misconduct in Krefeld. He was our captain for 12 games when Mickey was out and did a terrific job there. I think Mitch deserved to be the best player in the Oberliga Nord.’

Final question…It’s going to be a long summer because the last day of the play-offs supposed to be April 26. What are your plans?

‘First of all we have to see what is going to happen with the virus. It’s hard to make any plans. Hopefully not a lot of people get affected. That’s the biggest concern. I still go to the rink to meet up with René (de Hondt), Josh (Mizerek) and the sports side of Trappers management to see how things are. We go day by day. There are things that need to be done. The roster has to be ready for next year. The preseason games must be scheduled and hopefully the season starts on time. Besides that, we’re evaluating the season, the players and what could be better in the future. We’ll have to set up meetings with players to look back to this season, tell them what’s expected during the summer and hear their expectations for next season. We’ll have to see when we can do those sessions. I don’t want to drag anybody into an uncomfortable situation.

For now, with the kids out of school I must help my wife. Making sure things are working well and my daughter’s progressing in school. Once school is out, we go back home and spent the month of July with our family and friends. That’s something we always do. Obviously, there’s a travel ban there and in Germany. For us being Czech we can get back into the country as long as the Germans let us travel through Germany.’