The German national ice hockey team is relying on its hope: NHL professional Nico Sturm is supposed to lead the runner-up world champion into the quarter-finals after two bitter World Cup defeats.

A return to the ice seems possible as early as Wednesday (4:20 p.m./ProSieben and MagentaSport) against Latvia. “He’s doing us good,” said captain Moritz Müller. “We’ll be happy to have him back.”

The 29-year-old from the San Jose Sharks was only on the ice in the 6:4 opening win against Slovakia, and since then he has had to watch ailing: in the 1:6 defeat against the USA, then in the 1:6 lesson against Sweden. The minimum goal of the quarterfinals is in danger. “I hope he’s there now,” said Eisbären Berlin defender Jonas Müller.

Sturm is extremely important for the selection of the German Ice Hockey Association. As a face-off player, as a leader on and off the ice, as a fighter. The 2022 Stanley Cup winner can cheer up his teammates, who have been ailing after two clear defeats.

“He is on a very, very good path,” said DEB sports director Christian Künast at MagentaSport. “I’m confident that he’ll be back in action soon.” The top performer should be spared for another “day or two”.