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Adler Mannheim gets their newest Sabre

Jason Pominville is heading to Europe.

That’s the breaking news which our friend and colleague Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times-Herald is reporting today. Pominville is taking his entire family with him and will be playing for the Adler Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. Should the 2012-13 NHL season be cancelled, Pominville plans to make the commitment to the Adlers for the rest of this season, according to the report.

So of all the player signings in Europe made during this dreary and depressing lockout, why is this one more significant than most?

Several reasons… Mannheim is the home, and the home team, of Buffalo Sabre Jochen Hecht. The German connection goes further… the Sabres played the Adlers in their home venue, SAP Arena, last fall as part of their excursion to Europe to open the regular season. Buffalo defeated Mannheim 8-3 in an exhibition game played before a packed house of over 15,000 full throated Adler fans that night.

A few months later, Buffalo laid out the red carpet, as a large contingent of Adler Mannheim fans came to our city to cheer on the Sabres.

From our standpoint, here’s the best news:

Your two Artvoice sports writers, that being myself and partner Andrew Kulyk, are heading to Europe at the end of February for a 10 day sports odyssey through three countries. And thanks to the strong bonds and fellowships made with a great group of Adler Mannheim supporters, we are taking them up on their open invitation for a return visit to Mannheim, and have scheduled a game at SAP Arena as a part of the city hopping adventure.

Here’s our schedule:

Fri 2/22 ERC Ingolstadt at EHC Munchen – Olympia Eishalle (DEL)
Sat 2/23 Werder Bremen at Bayern Munchen – Allianz Arena (Bundesliga)
Sun 2/24 Iserlohn at Adler Mannheim – SAP Arena (DEL)
Tue 2/26 ZSC Lions at SC Berne – PostFinance Arena (NLA)
Fri 3/1 Leeds at St Helens – Langtree Park (Super League – Rugby)
Sat 3/2 Watford at Wolverhampton – Molineux Stadium (Champions League)

By the time we get to February, will the NHL season be saved and back on track? Here’s hoping it is, but if by chance its not, the 2013 Ultimate Sports Road Trip to Europe just got even more exciting. And a promise for one very cool Puck Stop column coming at ‘ya come early March, direct from Mannheim, Germany.