We proudly announced the latest winners of our EHF Club of the Year award last month, and brought you an in-depth look at the winning Scottish club, Grove Menzieshill (SCO). This week, when we are ready for the biggest weekend of Club hockey on the European stage, we bring you our other winning club, SG Rotation Prenzlauer Berg.

History Matters

First up, a look back at the history of the club! SG Rotation was founded in 1954, as part of a state-supported sports organisation in the former GDR. Beginning in 1969, however, the support was all but withdrawn, and shifted towards other sports disciplines that promised more medals and accolades but required lower expenses, as was the fate of many team sports at the time.

Until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, hockey was only tolerated, and not encouraged in East Germany. This meant there was a serious fall in development in the clubs in East Berlin and the whole region, which set them back considerably.

The clubs persisted through the years, but was severely crippled due to its lack of investment in development and a youth section. This changed in 2002 when Doreen Mechsner, a Rotation player and daughter of two longtime club members began to work to resuscitate the club’s youth development program. Four years later, her work brought the club to its next step: a full-time junior coach was hired. Since that very first coach joined the club, work has been tireless to revive the youth section and involve the local community (a developing neighbourhood itself). The number of club members increased from 180 in 2006 to almost 600 and counting today!

The Club has performed well in local competitions, but has a lot of work ahead as competition is fierce in the German league. This year, the club hopes to bring promotion for both the men’s and women’s team, and some important infrastructural upgrades: an new indoor training facilities and confirmation that SG Rotation’s club house will be rebuilt in 2018. New sponsors are on the horizon and the club is excited for a new milestone within sight: their 600th member!

Looking ahead: Hopes and Plans

In the next few years, the club hopes to make it into the National Indoor league for the first time in its history. Work must continue for the junior divisions, with a focus on slightly older divisions this time around (U16 and U18). Also in the club’s sights is a brand new, regular sized pitch in the neighborhood.

EHF Club of the Year (Large Clubs) 2016

Heike Deutschmann and Michael Wahl tell us: “The days after we found out we had won were very happy and exciting. It was such wonderful feeling to receive so many nice words from all around Germany and Europe! And the award is confirmation of the good work done by so many people, and we saw our members, coaches and volunteers filled with pride and joy.

This is great motivation to keep working and focusing on development. Each club is different, history, structure, location, etc. Look around, take best practices from other successful clubs but make them your own by celebrating what makes your club unique! “

Huge congratulations to SG Rotation for their well-deserved award!