Wings player living out lifelong dream at World Juniors
December 27, 2013
By Jacque Scoby, Aberdeen News
What started out as a “random” birthday present has turned into a life-long passion for Lennart Palausch.
“I was getting skates for my fourth birthday from my grandma, just randomly,” said Palausch. “My dad took me out to skate with them. After the skate, there was practice for my age group. We were watching it, and I told my dad, ‘I want to do that.’ ”
This Christmas, now 19-year-old Palausch, a native of Mannheim, Germany, will play for the U20 German national team in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships, which began Thursday.
Palausch is also a forward for the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League. He was one of 28 members selected to the preliminary roster for Germany The roster was trimmed to 23 players on Saturday, with Palausch one of 13 forwards selected to continue on to Malmo, Sweden.
“It’s a great experience,” said Wings’ head coach Travis Winter. “It’s an honor to represent your country at the highest level of junior hockey. He’s going to get to play against some very, very good players, so I’m sure it will be a great experience for him.”
Germany is in Group A of the ten-team tournament. Other teams in Group A include Canada, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States. Germany and Canada will face off in the opening match of the championships.
Playing on the international stage is nothing new for Palausch, who was selected for the U16, U17 and U18 teams before making his way to the U.S. to join the Wings, This is his first season of hockey away from his home country.
Palausch, who said he feels adopted by the Aberdeen community in the U.S., is nonetheless excited to rejoin his German teammates for the World Championships.
“First of all, it makes you proud to get selected to play for Germany and represent your country,” he said. “It’s such a big tournament.” The selection to the national team also opens up avenues in Palausch’s professional career. “You play against players who already play in the NHL, so there are going to be scouts. It’s a good chance to show yourself,” he said.
Palausch left the Wings on Dec. 12 to travel back to Germany for the start of training camp. Because the World Championships will be played on Olympics-sized surfaces, there will be some adjustments that Palausch will have to make after playing in the NAHL.
He is one of four players selected to the preliminary roster from the NAHL, including Parker Tuomie of the Wenatchee Wild. Tuomie and Palausch faced each other Dec. 13-14 in Aberdeen.