Anthony Russell is a passionate hockey fan with incredible hockey knowledge. We all know my obsession with Germany (if you don’t, now you do and don’t ask why.) and I jumped at the chance to learn more about the game there when Anthony asked to lend me a hand. Even if it is third tier, it’s a good look at seeing where hockey fits in Deutschland.
Along with giving me a great look at another EPIHL team, the Basingstoke Bison, Anthony runs his own blog covering the team and league itself. You can find that here.
March Hockey: Where are you located and how did you get into hockey?
Anthony Russell: I’ll take the second part of that first; I studied German at university which necessitated living there for a bit and I moved over in 2004. I lived in Rostock which is a town on the coast of the Baltic Sea and used to be part of communist East Germany. I walked to the end of the road and saw a poster that said “Neue Futterzeit, Sonntag 19 Uhr, REC Piranhas, Eishalle Schillingallee”. I went along, fell in love with Rostock Piranhas (and I still am) and it’s a love affair that’s lasted 10 years. When I left Germany to come back and finish my degree I realised I wanted to keep watching ice hockey. I had two choices; either get a bus to a train to a boat to go to the Isle of Wight and watch the Wightlink Raiders or get on a train to Basingstoke to see the Bison. That was November 2005 and I’ve been a mutual Piranhas and Bison fan ever since.
MH: What makes you a passionate fan of the Bison and of Rostock?
AR: I’m a sucker for punishment? In all seriousness I’m passionate about both teams for different reasons. I’m passionate about Rostock because they were my first connection to the sport. I fell into that and this weird English speaking dude has been embraced by people and the club. Basingstoke was my choice. I had a choice of a couple of places and that was the one I chose, albeit for convenience because I was a poor university student at the time but I chose them and stuck with it. We have won a sum total of zero trophies (sorry folks, the Oliverra 4on4 tournament doesn’t count) been in 2 cup finals that we lost, been to one finals weekend where we got knocked out in the semi final on sudden death penalties, nearly been bust twice but I keep going back. The sport and this club and the people I’ve met keep me going back. Continue reading “Fan Voice: Anthony Russell and the Basingstoke Bison, Third Tier German Hockey”