Thu 28 Mar 2013
ARDEN HILLS, Minn.— Bethel University star hockey player Jack Paul recently signed a professional contract with the Duisburg Fuchse (Foxes) of the German Oberliga (Upper League). Paul, who completed his final year in a Bethel Royal uniform in 2012-13 with his fourth All-Conference selection, will report to Duisburg in early August with the season set to start in September. The Fuchse are an affiliated feeder team to the Kolner Haie (Cologne Sharks) who compete in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), which is the top professional league in Germany. Duisburg was just recently eliminated from the Oberliga playoffs in the past week and play a 40-game regular season schedule in addition to the playoffs. A total of 39 teams in four divisions compete in the Oberliga, with several teams employing one or two American players.
“I am really excited for this opportunity and hopefully this is a stepping stone to move up,” Paul said.
Bethel’s head men’s hockey coach Charlie Burggraf spent time in the DEL in Germany from 1979-81 and played in the same city, Duisburg, that Paul is headed to.
“Coach has had a lot of good advice for me since it is the same city he played in,” Paul explained. “Otherwise I would be going in with no idea, so he has been really helpful.”
The Fuchse are bringing Paul in for his goal scoring and leadership ability. In four years at Bethel, Paul scored 53 goals and 103 points, including leading the MIAC in scoring during the regular season in his senior year. The Minnetonka, Minn., native also played two seasons of junior hockey in the NAHL before coming to Bethel after a standout, three–sport, career at Minnetonka High School.
“This will be a great experience for Jack to play in a foreign country,” coach Burggraf said. “The hockey is good and it is a big sheet of ice. They are looking for Jack to bring scoring and to mentor the younger guys on and off the ice. If he continues to play well more opportunities will open up for him.”
Paul will receive his degree from Bethel this May before heading to Germany to begin his professional career. Duisburg is located on the western part of the Ruhr Area in North Rhine-Westphalia and has the world’s biggest inland harbor, making it an important venue for commerce and steel production. While there, the Fuchse will provide Paul with housing and transportation in addition to a monthly stipend. Currently, the Fuchse have one other American on their roster.
VIDEO: Royal Perspective with Paul