Germany’s ship came in on this date 90 years ago, which is to say the S.S. Hamburg, which docked at New York on a Sunday in 1932 after a seven-day voyage from Cuxhaven in Germany, bearing (among other passengers) the German hockey team that was competing in the III Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y. That’s them arrayed here on arrival, with captain Eric Romer (left) shaking hands with the local German consul, Dr. Paul Schwartz (with his cane). I haven’t id’d the rest of the players, though at the far right is their star, Gustav Jaenecke, who may be the best German player of all time (give or take Leon Draisaitl). Rudi Ball is in there, too, somewhere — possibly third form the left with what looks like (but isn’t) an iPhone dangling down.
Eager to get back on the ice after their week at sea, the Germans skated on the Sunday of their arrival at the New York Coliseum in the Bronx. The next day, on that same ice, they took on the Bronx Hockey Club of the Manhattan Amateur league.
Sunday’s practice had been costly: German goaltender Walter Leinweber had his nose broken by friendly fire, and sat out Monday night’s warm-up game. A local ’tender, John Vanassee, stood in, and promptly leaked four goals, but the Germans battled back, tying the game with 40 second left in the third period. Ball, a centreman, and defenceman Alfred Heinrich were Germany’s outstanding players, according to the Yonkers Herald. No overtime was played, in deference to the visitors having so recently arrived, and the fact that they had to leave for Lake Placid the next day.
The 1932 Olympic hockey tournament was a cozy little affair, just four teams taking part, with Germany and Poland joining the hosts from the U.S. in the effort to dethrone Canada, the defending champions, who’d sent the Winnipeg Hockey Club, the 1931 Allan Cup champions, to uphold the honour and pride of the maple leaf.
Germany’s first game in Lake Placid was on Saturday, February 6, against the Canadians — but more on that later.