2002–03 DEL season
The 2002–03 Deutsche Eishockey Liga season was the 9th season since the founding of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (English: German Ice Hockey League). The Krefeld Pinguine became German Champions. The Schwenninger ERC Wild Wings lost their license due to insolvency proceedings and the Frankfurt Lions were granted a stay in the league.
|2002–03 Deutsche Eishockey Liga season|
|League||Deutsche Eishockey Liga|
|Number of teams||14|
|Season champions||Krefeld Pinguine|
The eight best placed teams in the regular season would enter playoffs, while the last two teams would have to fight relegation in a playdown series.
|3.||DEG Metro Stars||52||24||10||4||14||151:117||96|
|5.||Nürnberg Ice Tigers||52||23||7||6||16||133:127||89|
|14.||Schwenninger ERC Wild Wings||52||4||6||11||31||99:184||35|
= Qualified for playoffs = Season ended = Relegation playdown
The two last-placed teams, the Frankfurt Lions and Schwenninger ERC Wild Wings played a playdown best-of-seven series against relegation.
|Frankfurt Lions||–||Schwenninger ERC Wild Wings||2:4||3:6||1:2||6:4||4:3||4:7||2:3||–|
Despite the Lions having a 25-point advantage in the regular season, the Wild Wings won the playdown series. However, as insolvency proceedings against the Wild Wings opened, the DEL canceled their license and the Lions were allowed to stay in the league.
|3||DEG Metro Stars||1|
|5||Nürnberg Ice Tigers||1|
Starting March 12, 2003, the quarterfinals were played in a best-of-seven series.
|Eisbären Berlin||–||Hamburg Freezers||4:1||5:2||5:6 SO||3:2||2:1||4:0||–||–|
|Kölner Haie||–||Kassel Huskies||4:3||1:3||3:1||2:1||4:5||4:1||2:3||5:1|
|DEG Metro Stars||–||Krefeld Pinguine||1:4||1:2||5:6 OT||1:0||2:5||1:4||–||–|
|Adler Mannheim||–||Nürnberg Ice Tigers||4:1||5:4||1:6||5:1||4:2||3:0||–||–|
On March 28, 2003, the quarterfinals best-of-five series opened.
|Eisbären Berlin||–||Krefeld Pinguine||1:3||4:1||2:4||0:1||1:4||–|
|Kölner Haie||–||Adler Mannheim||3:0||3:2||5:3||4:3 OT||–||–|
The big surprise was the loss of Eisbären Berlin (English: Berlin Polar Bears) to the Krefeld Pinguine (English: Krefeld Penguins). The Eisbären were considered a strong favorite as they finished the regular season with 109 points vs. the Penguins 78.
The final series started April 11, 2003 with a homegame for the Kölner Haie who were the higher placed team after the regular season.
|Kölner Haie||–||Krefeld Pinguine||2:3||2:5||2:3||3:2||3:2 OT||1:3|
With this, the Krefeld Pinguine won the German title for the second time in their history. They almost accomplished this feat with a playoff sweep; this was somewhat unexpected, as their regular season record was not indicative of the playoff performance.
|Most points||Mark Beaufait||Eisbären Berlin||54 Points|
|Most goals||Christoph Brandner||Krefeld Pinguine||28 Goals|
|Most assists||Brad Purdie||Krefeld Pinguine||41 Assists|
|Best goali||Frederic Chabot||Nürnberg Ice Tigers||0.945|
|Best defender||Jeff Tory||Hamburg Freezers||46 Points|