SHELBY SHARES: Former U of M hockey player now goodwill ambassador in Germany

Former University of Minnesota hockey player Evan Kaufman, who now plays for the German National Team, is the first Jewish hockey player to wear the German jersey since the 1930s. And there's much more to his family's story.

Former German Ambassador to the United States Wolfgang Ischinger flew from Munich to Minneapolis this week to speak to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He covered a broad range of subjects from Iran to Israel, to Syria and the role of the United States in leading the world toward solutions.

He also spoke of the Holocaust. He spoke clearly about Germany’s atrocities during World War II. He would not gloss over a part of history that his audience has pledged to never forget. When he was done, the Jews gave the German a standing ovation. They recognize a good man when they see one.

Two of the people standing and applauding were Farley and Karen Kaufman. They have a special interest in things German and know personally that Germans recognize a good man when they see one.

Evan Kaufman is their son. He was a standout hockey player for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. After college, he tried out for the Dusseldorf professional hockey team in Germany. He is now a recognized member of Germany’s version of the NHL. Because his family heritage reaches back to Germany, the government granted him dual citizenship.

Evan’s father, Farley, told me, “I went up to the Ambassador after his speech and asked him if he was a sports fan.” Ambassador Ischinger is, indeed. But he is more a fan of history and told Evan’s father and mother that their son’s story is important for reasons that go beyond sports.

Evan’s great-grandfather, Edward Kaufman, was starved to death by the Nazis. Nazi guards killed his great-grandmother at Auschwitz. His grandfather escaped. He was a survivor. Farley told me, “My dad never held grudges, despite what he’d seen. In fact, the year he died, he had been invited by German authorities to return to Germany. He never made it. But, he never held a grudge, and he passed that on to us. Evan is an example of that.”

Now, at the end of every season, Evan plays for the German National Team. A Jew from Minnesota, a high-scoring forward, is the first Jewish hockey player to wear the German jersey since the 1930s.

“Evan is an ambassador, himself,” Farley said. “It is a big deal in Germany.”

It might be said that Evan is a symbol of what Germany has done to make sure that nothing like the Holocaust will ever happen again on German soil. Holocaust denial is a felony offense in Germany. Children in schools are taught the truth about the Nazis. German Jews have returned by the thousands to their homeland. Ambassador Ischinger called the change in German attitudes and the friendship of Jews with today’s Germans nothing short of a miracle.

Still, said Farley, “Evan is often the first Jewish person any of his German hockey teammates have ever met. And, what they come away with is that Evan is a great teammate.” Period.

Americans, and particularly Minnesotans, hold dear the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic games when a bunch of college kids beat the vaunted Soviet National team.

Here, my friends, is another miracle on ice.

Next Up

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Flickr - smoke McGregor minnesota wildfire July 29 2021 - Lorie Shaull

'Unprecedented': The wildfire smoke isn't going anywhere this weekend

The air quality alert that was supposed to end Friday is now in effect into early next week.

Alexis Saborit

Charges: Woman killed in horrific Shakopee attack was trying to leave suspect

The shocking incident happened at an intersection Wednesday afternoon.

3M Open, Tony Finau

Multiple injuries after pickup crashes into shuttle bus at 3M Open

Blaine police listed 25 people as being involved in the collision.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Teen arrested in connection to recent St. Cloud shootings

The shootings, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, did not result in injury or property damage.


U of M hockey women nominated for Kazmaier award

The Star Tribune reports four Gophers are among 30 nominees for the Patty Kazmaier Award. It's given to the top women's hockey player in Division I hockey. The winner will be announced on March 17 in Duluth.

U of M men's hockey ranked No. 1

The Golden Gophers men's hockey team is rank No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll. Their weekend sweep over SCSU pushed them back to No. 1 for the second time this season. The UMD Bulldogs are still ranked No. 1 in the USCHO poll, with the Gophers coming in at No. 2.

U of M bests UMD 5-4 in overtime

Don Lucia's Golden Gophers hockey team improved to 3-0 with a 5-4 overtime win over the defending national champion UMD Bulldogs. Sophomore winger Nate Condon scored the game winner with under a minute to play in the overtime period.

U of M hockey no longer winless in 2012

The No. 5 Gophers had a 4-0 lead in the second period in Grand Forks Saturday night. Minnesota held on to it for a 6-2 victory over the University of North Dakota. Minnesota is back at home Friday to host Colorado College.

Which conference is my favorite NCAA hockey team in now?

It's been a summer of madness with NCAA hockey teams relocating to new conferences. The 2013-2014 season will be filled with changes to the Western Collegiate Hockey, Big Ten, and National Collegiate Hockey Conferences.

U of M not on Tyus Jones' radar

Apple Valley high school basketball star Tyus Jones is only a sophomore, but he's already the No. 1 prized recruit in Minnesota. The Gophers have been recruiting him heavily but as of now, he's not interested in attending the U of M.

Paralyzed hockey player knows what Jablonski is facing

Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere interviews Travis Roy, a former Boston College hockey player who was paralyzed from the neck down after a hit he took during a 1995 game.

Prep hockey player Jack Jablonski making progress

According to family, the Benilde-St. Margaret's sophomore is getting stronger and will begin rehabilitation soon. Jablonski is sitting up in a specialized chair and moving his arms below the triceps. The 16-year-old hockey player was checked from behind during a junior-varsity game on December 30. Jablonski severed his spinal cord and fractured two vertebrae.