Christian Ehrhoff, fresh off a shocking German silver medal win at the PyeongChang Olympics, has decided to retire from hockey at the age of 35, following Kölner Haie’s elimination from the Deutsche Eishockey Liga playoffs, capping a 20 season career split between the NHL and Germany.
Ehrhoff, an offensive defenceman from a relatively obscure hockey country at the start of the new millennium, began his career in the Deustche league with Krefeld Pinguine in 1999, being drafted in the fourth round by San Jose in 2001. Ehrhoff would join the Sharks in rhe 2003-04 season, returning permanently after the 2004-05 lockout, and becoming a key core of the Sharks’ offence. After five years in San Jose, Ehrhoff was traded to Vancouver, where he spent two seasons, and in 2011, came within one game of becoming just the second German (after Uwe Krupp) to win a Stanley Cup. Vancouver marked the start of a whirlwind travel itinerary throughout the NHL, spending three seasons in Buffalo, and parts of one season or less in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Chicago. Ehrhoff returned to the DEL in 2016 with Kölner Haie, captaining the team in his latest and final season.
With the Träger der Adler, Ehrhoff first joined as a junior in 1999, joining the senior men’s team in 2001. While still a junior, Ehrhoff suited up for both the Olympics and World Championships with the senior team in 2002, and would become a permanent fixture (when available) on the German blueline, a core player for a squad that featured only a handful of NHL players. Ehrhoff would suit up at four Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010, 2018), seven World Championships (2002, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017) and the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, also joining the “Team Europe” contingent at the 2016 World Cup, which finished a surprising second to Canada. Ehrhoff’s only hardware would come in his final appearance for Germany, which saw Germany stun the hockey world with an improbable second place finish, Germany’s best in history.
Ehrhoff, due to Germany’s decade-plus drought with the International Hockey Lineal Championship, would play for the title many times (his first attempt at the 2002 Salt Lake Games), but he would surprisingly only hold the title once, just this past February en route to Germany’s silver medal finish. We wish Christian and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!
Photo Credit: PyeongChang 2018 – IIHF – HHOF – IOC