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Meet your fellow CHN subscriber: Andreas Hetzler

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Avalanche fans are all over the globe. Andrea Hetzler is proof of that. The native of Nuremberg, Germany, is a very rabid Avalanche fan. How so, you ask?

Much of his body is adorned with Avalanche tattoos.

Andreas, 38, has been watching the Avs since 1996, when a certain German player, Uwe Krupp, won the Stanley Cup with a triple-overtime goal in Florida.

Andreas explains more:

Back in those days, there were barely to no coverage of NHL Games in Germany. There was a weekly format called „NHL Power Week“ on Deutsches Sport Fernsehen and some selected games were broadcasted on Premiere PayTV.
Other than that, we only had a weekly magazine called „Eishockey News“.
I attended hockey games in Germany of the Nuremberg Ice Tigers from 1995 on. Roman Turek was our Goalie who would go on to have a nice NHL career with Dallas, Calgary and the Blues. Later we had Steven Reinprecht there. His number hangs now under the rafters. Visiting one of my first games back in 1995, I saw a few fans in the stand wearing other Jerseys than the Ice Tigers jerseys. They wore NHL Jerseys. I remember asking my cousin: “Heiko, what
are these jerseys?“ Those are NHL jerseys, from America.“  “They play there hockey too?“ “Yes, you can read about it in the Eishockey News, I have a subscription. You can have my issue every week after I finished reading it.“
Back in those days, there was no Google or EliteProspects, so I began to read. I read about the German players like Uwe Krupp, Ollie Kolzig and later Marco Sturm and Jochen Hecht. With my new knowledge about the existence of hockey outside the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, I began to research and after Uwe scored the now-famous goal, I said to my parents: „I know him, I‘m a fan of him, I‘m a fan of the Colorado Avalanche. I need a jersey!“
Meanwhile, my mum bought me two Hockey Games for my GameBoy. One was NHL ́95, the other one was Blades of Steel. I inserted NHL into my GameBoy, selected “Play Now“ and began searching for my newest favorite team, I searched and searched… “Mum, this game sucks, there is no Avalanche in there!!“ Little did I know that indeed the Nordiques were in the game.
Back to my Jersey wish. Even back in time, there was a US-shop in Nuremberg where they sold some Jerseys. They had NBA Jerseys from Jordan and Pippen and some NFL Jerseys as long as flags and scarfs of various Soccer Teams. But nothing from the Avalanche or any other NHL Team. Disappointed, my Mum invited me for ice cream at the nearby Karstadt Market. Unexpectedly, they had NHL stuff there! Besides the Jaromir Jagr Pens Jersey and some Jerseys without Name and Numbers, there was also an Avalanche Jersey and an Avalanche Starter Jacket. “I want this jersey so bad!!“ “$100 for a Jersey is too much, son. Where you gonna wear it?“ „Everyday!“ “No, that’s too much. But you can have the jacket if you want to.“ „Better than nothing!”
I wore my jacket proudly to school every day (and later got the jersey anyway). Soon after I got my first non-IceTigers-jersey, a friend of mine called me from Calgary. „They have a Jersey here. It‘s the same logo as on your jacket. Do you want it?“ “Sure! I give you the money as soon as you‘re back in Germany.“ I didn‘t even ask for the price or if there was a name on the jersey.
That’s how I got my first real Jersey. The white than-home Jersey of Joe Sakic. As time moved on, we finally got Internet and I read everything I could. I bought every NHL Game for Playstation and still do to this day.
Internet became faster and faster and I was finally able to watch a few games per streaming.
Sometimes those streams were very very bad. There were delays, sudden connection errors or the quality of the streams were so bad you can‘t really see anything. I still remember the Playoffs 2001. At work, I would call my Mum and asked her, if she could take a look at the CNN Teletext and tell me the results of the night. During the finals I was camping with my girlfriend. We had a TV there and highlights were shown in German TV a day after the game. I tried my best not to see any result beforehand (which wasn’t that complicated), but after game 7 my buddy sends me a text „I think they won it!“ I stormed out of the tent screaming in joy.
Fast forward to 2006.
I was now a season-ticket holder for the Nuremberg Ice Tigers, watched selected NHL Games on German TV and knew most of the Players on every Team through playing the Videogames. I was newly separated from my fiancee and had the chance to do a trip to Northern America via „Panther Reisen Augsburg“. They do annual trips to see various NHL Games. One of the games in 2006 was the Avs at Calgary.
My first NHL Games I attended were in Vancouver against the Predators and the Kings. After that, we went to Calgary against my Avs. We had lower rank tickets and I was the only one in there going for the Avs in full gear. The only thing I remember besides losing the game was that Brad May fought and I met Tony Granato at the hot dog stand.
I did the trip to NA every year from 2006 to 2013. I was at most NHL Arenas, saw almost every team (I really miss Atlanta) and some AHL Games, too.
I saw the Avs in Calgary, Columbus, Dallas and San Jose and finally went to the Pepsi Center in 2009 against Columbus. I spent so much money in the Team Store. Jerseys, Jerseys, Jerseys and much more.
In 2016 I was at the Stadium Series Games at Coors Field and against the Red Wings with
my wife. She always said she ́ll be joining me on a trip if there is a game going on against the arch-enemy
Detroit, that ́s how I got her over there with me. In 2017 we were at the Globen in Stockholm for the Global Series. I did some press coverage for the German Hockey column “Hockeyweb.de“ and got the chance to go backstage and into the locker rooms of both teams. It was a once in a lifetime experience to talk to the players, meet Peter
Forsberg and even the “enemy“ Nicklas Lidstrom.
Alex Kerfoot told a not so nice story about his food poisoning there. I play hockey myself since 2005, wearing No. 77 on defense for the Nuremberg Beer League Team “Frankonia Flames.”
Coincidently the day as Patrick Roy was hired as head coach, I got an Avs Tattoo and my #77. As of now, I have around 14 Avalanche Jerseys from Sakic to Stastny, Forsberg, McLeod, Rantanen, Landy, MacKinnon and of course Ray Bourque. My newest Jersey is the Grubi Stadium Series 2020 Jersey which a friend brought me over.
Sadly there is no Global Series in 2020 but I hope I will be there next year.
Thanks for being a Colorado Hockey Now subscriber, Andreas. Great stories.
FIVE QUESTIONS:
1. Being from Germany, how “big” is Philipp Grubauer back home?  It’s sad that Grubi doesn’t get the honor he deserves here in Germany. Germany is a Soccer Land. Hockey is like the 4th or 5th sport here. Since the Silver Medal at the Olympics and the phenomenal development of Leon Draisaitl and other German talent like Tim Stutzle an JJ Peterka in the pipeline. There is more and more coverage of these players. Along hockey fans, Grubi has a great standing but for the common sports fan, I dont know if they even know who he is or what he had accomplished.
2. One time on vacation in Maui, I went snorkeling way out in the ocean and there were tons of green sea turtles that I could reach out and touch. I later found out that’s a favorite place for sharks to hang out too, and I’m petrified of sharks (even though I think they’re cool). Later on, I couldn’t help but thinking how I could have been a shark’s lunch. Have you ever done anything where, in hindsight, you thought, “maybe I shouldn’t have done that?” I can’t remember anything. I never committed a crime. I’ve never done drugs. I can’t think about anything I regret. Probably in hindsight I would go back in time, meet my 18 year old myself and tell him (or me) how live is going to be.
3. If you were told you could only have one thing in your life – music or sports but not both – which would you choose? Definitely sports! I watch all kinds of sports all the time. Heck, the Avalanche games start always around 3 a.m. in Germany. I barely miss one. I will fall asleep after the first period. But I see every game. At least parts of is. It sucked that there were no sports on during the pandemic. I really missed it. As of now, I can at least watch German, Spanish and Italian Soccer. Waiting for the NBA and NHL to restart. I’m still in doubt that it will really happen. They may both start but I don’t think we will have a Cup winner this season.
4. What’s one thing you’ve said you would always try to learn, but haven’t done it yet, but that you think you still might? (For me: guitar).  Guitar is a good point. I love to play Rockband and Guitar Hero but I failed to learn the real stuff. I think I would learn Spanish.
5. Besides me, who is your favorite all-time writer? I read a lot in biographies about athletes. The last books I read where the books of Curtis Joseph, Sean Avery, Ronda Rousey, Sabu (ECW), Al Snow (ECW) and Theo Fleury. As for a “real” writer, I’m going with Stephen King. The old stuff before he got sober.
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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jensen

As German must say that it is a great story and I feel transported back to that time. I have also been a fan since 96 and I was 18 years old at that time. In contrast to Andreas, I don’t visit german hockey games anymore. The sport has been extremely run down in the last few years so I save my money. Thanks for sharing his story.

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This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2019 National Hockey Now and Adrian Dater.

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