Team managament would not comment on the decision. Experts had expected the dismissal of head coach Bill Stewart and his staff as a reaction to the team's recent slump. The Adler have lost 3 of their last 5 games.
The assumption that the release had anything to do with a recent yellow-press photo, which showed Racine and Ustorf partying in Hamburg's famous nightlife district Reeperbahn the night before a game against the Freezers, was not commented either.
Ustorf, who also spent a couple of years in the Washington Capitals organisation, appeared in a total of 129 games for the Adler since 2001, recording 32 goals, 57 assists and 138 penalty minutes. He has been the third-best scorer on the team this season with 1 goal and 9 assists in 15 games. After 10 seasons in the NHL with Detroit, Philadelphia, Montreal, San Jose, Calgary and Tampa Bay, Racine joined Mannheim in 1999. He quickly became a fan favorite and won the DEL championship in 2000-01. In 237 games for the Adler, the Quebec-native tallied 20 goals, 117 assists and 555 penalty minutes. In 15 games this season, the defenseman has notched 2 goals and 3 assists.Teammates condemn management's decision
In a statement submitted to prohockey.de, Ustorf's and Racine's teammates condemned their management's decision:
"As a team, we are shocked and upset at the decision by management to dismiss our captain, Stefan Ustorf, and assistant captain Yves Racine", the statement reads. "We are outraged that management refuses to give a reason or explanation for their dismissal. Ustorf and Racine are highly respected by their teammates as people as well as players."
"They are strong leaders and in no way deserved this. As players, we view this as losing 2 of our family members. It is upsetting that two players careers, families and reputations are being torn apart."
"We need to play better as a team. This change is not the answer. We are sorry and angry that Ustorf and Racine took the blame for our teamís performance. 2 of our family members have been taken from us and no one can tell us why?