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"There was always talk in the locker room"
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Juni 6, 2002; 22:04
"There was always talk in the locker room"
Exclusive Q&A with long-time Barons captain Simon Wheeldon
Frank Johne

Eyeing a return to Austria’s Uniqua League: Simon Wheeldon

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Munich, Germany - Three days after the end of the Munich Barons, caught up with long-time captain Simon Wheeldon in Canada. The 35-year-old talks about relocation, reveals what the past months with the Barons were like and speaks about his possible return to Austria.

“Wheels” set several franchise records, including the all-time lead in scoring
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005) It's official now: The Munich Barons will be moved to Hamburg. Although relocations are more common in North America than in Europe, it must hurt you to see it end like this after the team did such a great job for three straight seasons?

Simon Wheeldon: Yes, it’s sad to see the team move. I really enjoyed my time in Munich and especially the fans that were there on a regular basis. We not only had a good team, but we had a good group of guys as well as coach [Sean Simpson] and manager [Max Fedra]. A possible relocation had been rumored for several months. Did it ever become an issue in the locker room, too?

Wheeldon: Yes there was always talk in the locker room as some of the guys had multi-year contracts and weren’t sure if they were going to be in Munich next year. It wasn’t really a distraction on the ice, however, and like you said it does happen more often in North America. So we would have had to deal with it the best way possible. Did the management ever address the team because of that matter?

Wheeldon:No management never addressed the team about the situation. I think they didn’t because they didn’t know anything more than we did about the situation. Did it bother you that you guys did not get as much appreciation - at least attendance-wise - as you would have deserved, being one of the top teams in the league for three consecutive years?

Wheeldon: It might have bothered us a little bit that we were a top team in the league and we couldn’t fill the stands. But the fans that were there game in and game out were great to us. You will not only go down in history books as the only captain of the Munich Barons. During the three years, you also set multiple records: All-time leading scorer with 162 points, all-time assist-leader (112), most games played by a skater (202), regular-season scoring leader (60 points in 1999-2000)... to name just a few. What memories will remain from your stint in Munich?

Wheeldon: Like I said before, I really enjoyed my time in Munich and met a lot of nice people. We not only had a good group of guys, but we were treated with class and respect. I will personally miss playing in Munich. The biggest memory I will take with me would have to be our championship. Nothing can beat winning the Championship. What does your offseason look like? Finally time for your family, hobbies, vacation?

Wheeldon: My offseason is going to be really low key this year. My wife's mother passed away during the season and it was a tough year because of that. So we are just going
to concentrate on family things and helping each other through some tough times. There have been rumors in the Austrian press that you might return to Feldkirch next season, the place where you won five national championships and the European Hockey League during the 90's. Have you already decided on your future?

Wheeldon: Actually, we haven’t completely decided, but things are pointing to me going back to Feldkirch. I'll make a decision on my future in the next little while. Feldkirch returns to the Austrian top division after a couple years of absence. What would you expect from the team?

Wheeldon: Like any team I play for, I expect us to first make the playoffs and from there, go for the championship. If there's anything I've learned in hockey, it's everything is possible. What are your plans for the mid-term future? Do you want to stay
involved in the hockey business?

Wheeldon: I've played with so many players over the years and made many friends that are still in the NHL, still playing elsewhere, and also doing things outside of hockey. Not to mention coaching as well. Two players who shortly were your teammates, Kris Draper (Moncton Hawks) and Fredrik Olausson (Winnipeg Jets), currently compete for the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. Who's your favorite in the finals?

Wheeldon: I personally hope that Detroit wins that Stanley Cup. But I would like to see a good series and not a walkover.
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