Franz Reindl is standing for IIHF President, having held a number of playing coaching roles and served as DEB President since 2014 ©Getty Images

Franz Reindl, the current President of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) and one of five candidates standing to succeed the long-serving René Fasel as International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President, has stressed the importance of "balance" to his campaign.

Reindl has been on the campaign trail since June, being the first candidate to announce his intention to run for the Presidency, while Denmark’s Henrik Bach Nielsen, Czech Republic’s Petr Briza, Belarus’ Sergej Gontcharov and France’s Luc Tardif are also standing for election.

The DEB President was an Olympic bronze medallist at Innsbruck 1976 with West Germany and appeared at nine IIHF World Championships and three Winter Olympic Games.

He served as an assistant coach for the German national team at three World Championships and two Olympics, and was elected as DEB President in 2014.

The 66-year-old is also an IIHF Council member, and has chaired several events for the international governing body.

The DEB President has released his top priorities should he be successful at the election, and stressed in an interview with insidethegames the importance of balance on an international scale - something he believes he has already achieved with the national federation during his seven years in charge.

"I’ve been in hockey my whole life," Reindl said.

"I played, I was managing, I coached, I did everything.

"When I was elected in 2014, we created a programme, Power Play 26, and we united the family.

"We were kind of divorced in Germany with the League and the Federation.

"We lost energy, we lost focus, but now we are one family - not always of the same opinion, but we are sitting on the same table and talking about the same goals and wishes.

"We did it in Germany, so I think globally it’s way bigger, but in principle it’s the same - get balanced, get coordinated, and then you can reach your goals.

"For me personally, I think I can do it internationally, bringing people together to get the best out for our game.

"The successful experience I think is a good example of the service I can provide, and if people want to have me, they can be sure of what they are getting - honest, powerful, straightforward.

"Hockey is played as a team, and to coordinate this and balance it is the best thing I can provide.

"For me it’s a next step, but it’s a logical step.

"If the majority doesn’t want it, that’s fine and for me it’s not all or nothing.

"I want to help grow the game and develop our sport, and I can help most in the highest position."

Franz Reindl was elected as DEB President in 2014, and believes
Franz Reindl was elected as DEB President in 2014, and believes "we united the family" since then ©Getty Images

As part of this search for balance, Reindl is looking to provide unity between member national associations (MNAs) to help advance the sport on a global level.

"We have to get united to get stronger," he affirmed.

"There are several other sports doing very well, so we have to get together and get stronger.

"There are so many opportunities and so many challenges, for example in North Africa and Asia.

"We want to grow and make our sport more global, but without the big countries, it’s not possible to help the small countries.

"We need to get together, and that’s what I see as the key - balance.

"The stronger have to help the weaker and the MNAs in trouble.

"We are a healthy organisation and our sport is very attractive, so this is a good chance for us to progress to higher levels."

Growing the sport globally is the second of the four key points in Reindl’s manifesto, and he explained some of his ideas.

"Right after the election, we have to really go forward and try the best to help our MNAs," he said.

"We have to recruit now, we have to get forward.

"You have to go into schools, we have to recruit new areas, new players - the kids are waiting for support, so we have to champion this whole and get the kids playing hockey.

"That’s what really is important, but our MNAs need help.

"Help on how to develop, and maybe financially as well - maybe not always, but to start the programmes.

"This is where I think we can learn from each other, and we have to use opportunities like Congress and more workshops to transfer knowledge and learn from each other."

Reindl added that the campaign experience thus far has been one he has relished, and proven the importance of connecting with people across the world.

"COVID-19 changed life dramatically, and we have to adapt," he admitted before explaining how he has overcome pandemic-related challenges during his campaign.

"Of course you do social media, and you have to try to have as many personal contacts as you can get.

"You’re limited with travelling, so we do mostly videos and calls, but I also travel to neighbouring countries where it’s easier, such as Austria, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Nordic countries, Benelux.

"I am going to Riga as I am chairman for the final qualification [tournament for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics], where there are four nations competing, and the Baltic states are coming to watch, so you will see maybe 10 MNAs, and then of course we will meet and get together and answer questions."

For the three-times Olympian, the opportunity to connect with people and listen to their concerns and feedback has been a most enjoyable aspect of the campaign.

"I feel it’s a great time talking to people more than usually, learning and listening and getting impressions and opinions, because I stopped conversation, I didn’t talk too much personally, but now you talk more to people and this is the best thing out of it," Reindl said.

"It doesn’t matter how it ends, I don’t ask things like ‘will you vote for me?’ or ‘will you support me?’, I just listen and talk about it.

"If I lead I would do it, but if not then I will help the leader move forward.

"I really enjoy talking to people and being asked challenging questions, I’m a practical guy and I want to talk to people freely, openly and honestly and I enjoy it.

"The feedback I’ve had has been positive, I have not had a single bad comment, which is a nice sign.

"Even on social media, I’ve had good, nice comments, so I’m happy that people like the programme, the manifesto and the way the website is styled - it’s clear, you can click on every position I’ve been in.

"People like it, and I like it too, so for me it’s a challenging and busy time because you have different timing, talking to Asia in the morning and North America late in the afternoon, but for me I appreciate every day I can do hockey."

As part of his manifesto, Reindl also wants to maximise commercial, digital, data and influencer opportunities, and enhance the governance, integrity and transparency of the IIHF.

The winner of the election will be decided at the IIHF Semi-Annual Congress in Saint Petersburg on September 25.

All five candidates are members of the IIHF Council, and Reindl underlined his respect for those he is running against.

"I think it’s healthy for our organisation to have five candidates," he said.

"We’re a democratic organisation and all the candidates have strong parts in their campaign and they’re good guys, we are friends, so it’s healthy for our organisation and they can choose whichever direction they want to go in.

"For me I’m not fighting against others, I just want to provide a service for the membership, and I have no opponents in this way."