“The moment I decided to play for Germany, I also decided to give 100% for it.”
20. July 2023
Gonzalo Peillat has been wearing the jersey of the German national hockey team for a good year. Winning the world title in January 2023 his start could not have been better. With six goals in the course of the tournament and his incomparable penalty corner, he made a significant contribution to winning the world championship title. Here you can find out how Gonzalo Peillat ticks off the field and what he hopes for from the upcoming European Championships at home.
You played for the Argentine national team for a long time and were already very successful there, until you took on German citizenship in 2022. Since then you’ve been running for the DHB and in the recent past you’ve also been very successful. How did it feel to win the World Cup in India?
It was a very important tournament as it was my first major tournament with the national team. It was something incredible. We used it all the way to the title, simply saying: “It was awesome”.
You are Olympic champion and world champion. As a native of Argentina, what would it mean for you to win the European title?
The moment I decided to play for Germany, I also decided to give 100% for it. From that point on, it didn’t matter whether I played in Argentina or what I did as a player for Argentina. I handle it very professionally. The European Championships are taking place in August, which I’m really looking forward to. It will definitely be very difficult as there are many good teams, but we are in a good preparatory process. I’m really looking forward to playing for the German national team, since we haven’t played a major tournament together in Germany before, I’m all the more looking forward to the HEIM EM in Mönchengladbach.
You know the excitement of hockey fans around the world. For you players it’s the first big hockey event in Germany in front of the home fans, what do you expect?
I’m expecting a great atmosphere, I’m looking forward to it. A few days ago I saw that tickets for the final day were sold out. A great signal for the team, the fans should be able to enjoy it and we want to contribute to this with good and successful hockey.
But now let’s talk about you personally. You have one of the best and most feared corner kickers in hockey. Where do you see your strengths in the game next to the corner and how would you describe yourself as a hockey player?
I’m a very quiet player. In the last few years with the national team, I’ve changed my game a little bit because I play there as a full-back. Today I play a bit more offensively for the team. This has further developed me as a player and I have continued to grow with this new task. Of course, this is very good for my game. In addition, I always try to have a lot of communication on and off the field with my teammates, because it’s not always just about hockey, but also about a good atmosphere with each other off the field.
Do you see your role at HONAMAS more aggressively than at the MHC?
Yes, in any case. I’m someone who learns quickly and accepts things. I am very happy when I am given new tasks, I then like to adapt and try to make the best of it. Different roles are certainly a big challenge for every hockey player, it’s a great opportunity to develop.
How do you spend your time away from the hockey field?
I work at Mannheimer HC. In my position as camp manager, I am responsible for the association’s summer and winter camps. That takes a lot of time. We started this three years ago and there is always something new to do. I am really looking forward to many camps to come.
Can you define yourself as a hockey pro? How do you earn your living?
So I earn my money through hockey. But you can’t compare that to a basketball or handball professional. I play for the MHC, for the national team and also work for Mannheim. In the end it’s a mix of professional and amateur sport, so I would consider myself a bit semi-professional.
Are you already thinking about what comes after your career as a hockey player?
Yes, in any case. I would like to continue working at MHC. Preferably as an organizer, a bit in the direction of a sports director. When it comes to organization and planning, I’m very good. But I clearly don’t see myself as a hockey coach, the question has come up quite a few times.
If you could give the young hockey players something, what would it be?
My tip would be something along the lines of “strength lies in calm”. Nowadays there are many players who are quickly confronted with high pressure and cannot always withstand it. Just take a deep breath and don’t let everything get to you, and it’s particularly important to understand that you always have a second chance in sport, which means dealing with setbacks in a considered manner.
Finally, let’s take a look at the upcoming European Championships and you as a team. What distinguishes you as HONAMAS? What connects you and what makes your team special?
We have a very good balance between players with a lot of experience and very strong, very young players. I think that’s a very good mix for our team. We can now train a lot during this break. Our preparatory course under ideal conditions and the upcoming friendlies against Belgium are helping us to develop further. Normally we don’t have this concentration because all the players in the clubs have to complete their competitions. The ProLeague in Amsterdam and London has also helped us in our process, so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.
What do you want to achieve at the European Hockey Championships in Mönchengladbach?
The goal is clear, as reigning world champions we want to win the title and get our ticket to
the 2024 Olympic Games.
Why should sports fans attend the European Hockey Championships?
The World Cup in India was definitely an absolute highlight, but actually difficult for our German fans to achieve. Now everyone has the chance to get closer to us and to enjoy the atmosphere and maybe take a giant step towards Paris 2024 together in their own country.
by DHB Magazin