As a Canadian, I am used to watching Team Canada’s hockey team beat up on less hockey skilled nations, such as Kazakhstan, Austria, Norway, Latvia, Belarus, Germany, and so forth. Yet as a sports fan, I have always wondered about Germany. I mean, they are a sports powerhouse. They regularly claim a spot as one of the top three countries in both summer and winter Olympics. They excel at both track & field and luge. I mean, come on, there is nothing this country cannot do when it comes to sports – and I haven’t even mentioned their dominance in the world’s most widely spread team sport, soccer. So come on you wiener-eaters, how come you cannot play hockey? Well do I have the answer for the Aryan nation – a thought experiment….um, of sorts. What if Hitler had won World War II? Sure the world would be a lot more awful place, but think of how strong Germany’s sports team would be today!
Ok, so a few ground rules on this “experiment”. One, for shear moral dignity, let us assume that Hitler made a few “different” decisions. Without going into a extremely elaborate retelling of WWII (I”ll leave that to Band of Brothers!), Hitler made a few mistakes. Notably, let us focus on his decision to go against his pact with Stalin and attack the Soviet Union in 1942. Let’s pretend that never happened. Let’s also pretend that – for whatever reason – Germany simply stopped the war at the zenith of its power. We also have to assume that for the last 70 years or so, there has been absolutely no change to the German advances as they stood in 1942; meaning, the Allies woke up one morning and just decide to say “so what, we never wanted the Rhineland anyways, too many hairy women.”
In this scenario, “Germany” would now encompass Poland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Crimea (if you count portions of the Soviet Union as the separate states that Germany treated them as), Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland, Austria, and the Czech Republik. Unfortunately, those damn Swiss and Swedes and their clinginess to neutrality have made them exempt from the Great German Empire.
So we are now ready to create team “Germany” for the 2010 men’s Olympic hockey tournament. Mein Kempf was smart enough to reinforce his hockey squads with great players from Finland, Czech, and Slovakia. We’ll do our best to find a few other hockey players from Poland, Belarus and who knows, maybe someone from over the Maginot line while we’re at it. So without further ado, I present to you team Germany (I even managed to respect the 23 man roster, but I think one of my left wingers may need to drop back on defense, ha!):
Miikka Kiprusoff – The Finnish Flame is an easy choice to be the Nazi backstopper. I also think he could sport a mean red-headed Hitler mustache. (Finland)
Tomas Vokoun – Playing in Florida should prepare him for the deluge of shots that “German” goalies are accustomed to face. (Czech)
Jaroslav Halak – I did my best to get “German” born Thomas Greiss as the third goalie, but this Slovakian is having too good a season for my Habitants. Halak is third in the NHL in save percentage and earned his way on to team Germany for the games. (Slovakia)
Tomas Kaberle (Czech) - So I might think the Leafs are a joke, but this guy is for real. He can really anchor the power play for the Nazis. Also, he does that great Aryan thing by not having an "h" in his name.
Marek Zidlicky (Czech) - The sexiness name in hockey. Enough said.
Roman Hamrlik (Czech) - Although the "hammer" may be more of a communist symbol, this Canadiens defenseman will bring some much needed "defense" to the facist blue line.
Christian Ehrhoff (Germany) - Finally! A "real" German. The best part of this guy is that Yahoo lists his birthplace as "west" Germany. Doesn't Yahoo know that Hitler won the war and there was never anything like the Berlin Wall? I mean, other than that huge wall that the Germans built out in the Crimea to keep the Commies out (oh I love fake history!)
Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) - The tallest man ever to put on skates will create havoc and confusion in the front of all non-facist teams. Now that Germany has the Eifell Tower under its possession, Chara will be known as the Zdeno Eifell on this team!
Lubomir Visnovsky (Slovakia) - Not a very German sounding name, but this guy can put the puck in the net. And defenseman with his scoring prowess cannot be ignored in the Rhineland.
Tomas Plekanec (Czech) – Again, not having an "h" and being a Montreal Canadien assures his spot on team "Germany" at the games. Doesn't hurt that he is having a break out year.
Frans Nielsen (Denmark) – The Danes actually saved the vast majority of their Jewish population by shipping them onto Sweden. Fortunately, Judaism and hockey are not very synonomous, or else such action may have resulted in the loss of great German hockey stars (oh wait, they would have been loss if they stayed in Germany anyways....ooops, Germany's hockey team is trying to put this unfortunate part of our history behind us!) In any case, team Germany welcomes this Dane to the team. Even on a losing team, he is at +13, very solid.
Mikko Koivu (Finland) – I made Saku and Mikko wear liederhosen and as it turns out, Mikko looked better, so I took him on the team.
Jochen Hecht (Germany) – Holy wiener sausages, our second "german" on team Germany!
Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) – In a complicated series of geopolitical moves, Slovenia and all other Axis powers are eligible to play for the Fatherland (i.e. Germany....I figure if Russia is the Mother land, Germany must be the Fatherland). Otherwise, this great LA King centre, who led the NHL in scoring for a while, would just have to sit on his Slovenian ass.
Wojtek Wolski (Poland) – Who knows where this Pole learned to weild a hockey Stick! Given that it has been 70 years since Germany invaded Poland, we feel pretty confident of Wojtek's patriotism towards team "Germany". After all, they have their common ancestory of sausages.
Alexei Ponikarovsky (Ukraine) – The Ukraine is NOT weak!
Dany Heatley (Germany) – Ok, warning, warning. This makes absolutely not historical sense. BUT, the heater was born in Germany so he is German - never mind that under Nazi Germany, Canada would not have had an army base and his parents wouldn't be posted there in the first place. But in my world, I need him to heat up the stove for team Germany!
Thomas Vanek (Austria) – The only place more German than Germany is Austria - or rather, the German province of "Osterich".
Patrick Elias (Czech) - I can't believe it took this long to add a second Czech forward. I guess I miss Jagr (wait, isn't he on team Czech at the actual Olympics? Well, he is not German enough for my team).
Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) – Goals, goals, goals. This guy knows how to score them.
Marian Hossa (Slovakia) – See the comments about Gaborik. Slovakian-born Germans are really lending a sense of excellence to this team! Thank goodness Germany got a package deal when it took over Czechslovakia!
Teemu Selanne (Finland) – And oldie but goodie.
Radim Vrbata (Czech) - I have nothing to say but that Radim is a radical name! ha!
So there you go. Team Germany at the fictional 2010 Vancouver Games. Can they beat the Communists powers of Soviet Union? Can they take on those panzy neutral countries - Switzerland and Sweden? And finally, will they be able to handle those capitolists pigs from North America?