It is an early morning practice for Team Germany and while the team has yet to score a goal during
tournament play, team captain Marcel Goc still manages to joke around after scoring on his own goalie.
Off ice, Goc maintains a casual and positive attitude and says that the tournament is not over for Germany
yet. “We have to start playing better defense and we have to score some goals,” he says. “But we don’t give
Currently playing for Schwennigen in the German Elite league, the 6’1”, 187-pound German has been a boy
playing against men. When Goc tired out for the German team at the tender age of 16, he impressed the
coaching staff so much that they offered him a contract. In his first season, he played mainly on the third
and fourth line. That season, he showed his strong offensive talents. He also showed that he was not a
defensive liability against more developed players.
It was in his second year in Schwennigen that Goc really began to show his promise. Despite skating
against more skilled and mature players, Goc played exceptionally well. Goc responded with 13 goals and 28
assists in 58 games, and at just 17 became one of the league’s best players.
Goc says that he has been on skates since he could walk, and where hockey has little support in a
soccer-crazed nation, Goc says hockey is in his blood. “In every village there is a soccer field, and here in
my very little village there is a hockey rink,” he says. “We were lucky. My father played, my older brother
plays, and then I started to play.”
Goc grew up in the tiny southwestern German town of Calv, population 2,500. Different from many German
boys, he played hockey before he played soccer. Although he does play soccer, he admits to shortcomings on
the pitch. “I can’t handle the ball that well, but when I have it, I run. In the summer, I try, but it is not
The closest ice is in Stuttgart, so his parents endured the 45-minute drive for their sons to learn to
play hockey. Marcel began to play at the age of three or four and has always played forward. His hockey idol
was Wayne Gretzky.
Goc barely remembers his first organized hockey game. “I don't remember the details. I just know we lost
30 to nothing or something,” says Goc with a grin. “We played against the older guys; I was just four or five
Goc is a well-rounded player with few weaknesses. He is fast with the puck and rarely turns it over. Back
on defense, if he can get his stick on the puck, he is often responsible for moving the puck out of his zone.
On the power play, he is excellent at moving the puck around. He is an excellent passer, and while not
considered a big player, he is strong in the corners.
Goc does not like to boast of his skills. “I can’t describe how I play.” he says. “You would have to ask
the coach. I play because it is fun and I love the game.” But Goc does have some bragging rights. He was
chosen 20th overall at the 2001 Entry Draft by San Jose edging out Marco Sturm for the honour of being the
highest-drafted German player.
“It was a really good feeling to be drafted. No one expected me to go in the first round.” he says. “I was
surprised and excited because to play in the NHL is my goal.”
After two exhibition games in Nova Scotia, Goc has three assists, but Germany has not been able to get its
game together in tournament play with a 4-0 loss to Finland and a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic.
Goc hopes that Germany will play better, but when he gets home it’s sleep and food that he will be looking
forward to the most. “There is so much good stuff,” says Goc. “I miss sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and
meat, any kind of meat. Schweinbraten is good.”
And with a smile, Marcel Goc makes his way back to the dressing room to get ready for the rest of day--a
team lunch and meeting, and then playing later tonight, which, for Goc, is the best part of being in Halifax,
a chance to be on the ice and in front of the fans, his chance to shine.