No Point For Noebels, Better Off In Berlin


There never was going to be much of a reason for German winger Marcel Noebels to accept his demotion to the Reading Royals of the third-tier East Coast Hockey League. If the 22-year-old native of Toenisvost was deemed to be not good enough by the Philadelphia Flyers organization to keep his place playing at the American Hockey League level then that is fine. It is fair to say that Noebels did not rip any trees out of the ground during the Lehigh Valley Phantoms training camp this fall.

However, it will be so much better for the overall development of Marcel Noebels, the player, and the German national team program, itself, if the youngster finally returns to Europe after a four-year absence and skates regularly in the domestic Deutsche Eishockey Liga for a quality club such as Eisbaeren Berlin.

With the crack Eisbaeren in Berlin, Noebels will be able to glean valuable knowledge from a bona fide international and NHL-caliber player such as the highly experienced Antti Miettinen, the veteran right wing who has skated in 539 NHL games (97 go, 230 pts) for the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild as well as the Winnipeg Jets while also appearing at no less than seven major international tournaments for Finland. Among other accomplishments, Miettinen celebrated a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, with the rest of his Finnish Olympic teammates. None of the players with the ECHL’s Reading Royals or even the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, for that matter, have this sort of track record.

Perhaps even more importantly, by playing his club hockey in Berlin, the former Philadelphia Flyers farmhand will be readily available for national team duty all throughout the normal ice hockey season. Not only will Noebels’ participation at the annual IIHF World Championships not be contingent upon his North American club team not qualifying for / being eliminated very early from league playoff competition but the new Eisbaeren Berlin winger will also be able to be selected to the national side for important preparation tournaments during the season, such as the annual Deutschland Cup that is upcoming in early November. Surely, the still rather youthful Noebels will benefit far more from skating against the likes of the national teams of Switzerland (the neighboring arch-rival), Slovakia (who always have at least a handful of ex-NHL players) and Canada (who feature veterans with varying amounts of NHL experience now based in Europe) than he ever would taking a regular shift against the Trenton Titans, Wheeling Nailers or whomever.

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