Lukas Podolski Helps Save Ice Hockey Team From Extinction by Signing Up to Play

Just when we thought 2020 could not get any weirder, we caught wind of a particularly strange story brewing in Cologne.

One of the city's favourite sons Lukas Podolski has helped saved the Kölner Haie ice hockey team from bankruptcy... by promising to sign for the side.

With the Haie in danger of extinction due to games being held behind closed doors, Podolski sprung into action. The former Arsenal and Germany striker pledged that he would play for team if a certain amount of virtual tickets were sold.

When the 100,000 mark was met, Podolski greeted the news warmly and confirmed that he would follow through on his promise.

"I'm really happy for the Haie that the 100,000 tickets came together. You can only say thank you to all the people and companies that took part," he told German sports magazine kicker.

"When there's a bit of peace and quiet, we'll sit down at the KEC and discuss how things will continue. Whatever it is, I'm looking forward to becoming a Haie player."

Podolski won the World Cup with Germany in 2014 | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Podolski is not the first footballer to try his hand at ice hockey in recent times. Former Chelsea and Arsenal stopper Petr Cech joined the Guildford Phoenix back in October 2019, balancing his career on the ice with one in the boardroom at Stamford.

One sticking point in Podolski's plan to do the same is that he's currently contracted to Turkish side Antalyaspor.

The 35-year-old joined the Super Lig side in 2020 following spells at Galatasaray and Vissel Kobe after departing the Emirates Stadium five years ago.

What his current manager Ersun Yanal will have to say about Podolski pledging himself to the Haie remains to be seen. One thing's for sure though. The move will only deepen the affection that Cologne feels towards its hometown hero, who also owns a kebab house in the city.

Source : 90min