The Success Stories

Canadian hockey players in Bavaria

ERC Ingolstadt - courtoisie
ERC Ingolstadt - courtoisie

Canada’s national sport may not be as popular in Bavaria as soccer, but the Bavarian hockey teams still hire Canadian hockey players to strengthen their ranks. ERC Ingolstadt for instance has 5 Canadians playing under the lead of Canadian trainer Rick Nasheim (SK): Craig Weller (AB), Derek Hahn (ON), Tyler Bouck (AB), Jean-François Boucher (QC) et Michel Périard (QC).

Just before Christmas, the latter agreed to share with the State of Bavaria Quebec Office their impressions about their new home land, what they miss most about Quebec, and what the two regions have in common – besides beer.

**Jean-François Boucher, photo eishockeynews.de

Jean-François Boucher (picture right, source eishockeynews.de), son of ex-speedskater Gaétan Boucher, most misses his family. “It’s always hard to go on and leave behind the ones you love”, he says. Well, “c’est la vie” adds his teammate Michel Périard.

Both are nonetheless delighted with the uses and traditions in Bavaria, especially the various “Fests” throughout the year.  Michel Périard notes that, according to the Bavarian mentality, “when you go to work, you work 100%. But when you party, then you party 100%!” So do they feel Bavarian yet? “A little” Périard answers – he’s been living in Germany the most part of every year since 2005, first playing 4 years in a row for the Nuremberg Ice Tigers, then in Francfort and Mannheim, before joining the ERC Ingolstadt. Both Boucher and Périard reckon they still have trouble with the German language… Michel gets along more or less, and Jean-François has adopted wishing “Mahlzeit” at every meal.

On hockey, Michel Périard notes that the hockey rinks are larger in Germany than in North America, and Jean-François Boucher adds that body checking is more severely regulated there – this is quite a challenge for him, as he prides himself on a “rather physical style of play”. But both love the atmosphere. “Especially when we play somewhere in Bavaria, our fans come along and offer us really great support”, admires Jean-François. What’s more, every fan group has its own songs and choreographies, which is quite different to the very “corporate” North American standard, where everything is set by the fan club as would do a company.

Michel Périard, photo ERC IngolstadtAnd about those common points between Bavaria and Quebec? Michel Périard (picture right, source ERC Ingolstadt) has no hesitation: “Beer!” Both Périard and Boucher are extremely proud of the quality of their local production and the brewing culture that allows small breweries to thrive in Quebec just as well as in Bavaria. Jean-François Boucher also underlines that both populations have a very strong sense of identity, as they differentiate from their federation by language and by culture. “Bavarians are one of the proudest people I’ve ever met.”


Our thanks to Bernhard Enzinger, ERC Ingolstadt