Last week, Winnipeg product Brendan O’Donnell opted to move to Germany for the 2021-22 season on a one-year contract. That decision has proved to be a smart one, as the 29-year-old forward has already found his first career Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) goal in just two showings.
Playing out of one of Germany’s westernmost points in the country’s top professional hockey league, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound winger opted to remain overseas for the season, following the expiration of his contract with HC Slovan Bratislava in the Slovakian league last year.
Moving to Europe for the 2017-18 season, O’Donnell joined Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League with the Kunlun Red Star prior to being optioned to the VHL’s KRS Heilongjiang. The following year saw O’Donnell travel to both Switzerland and Finland for various stints within the Liga and EBEL.
The 2019-21 seasons were spent between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where he continued to pad his stats following his 33-goal, 53-point campaign with Dornbirner. In 98 games from 2019-21, O’Donnell had 36 goals and 71 points to go alongside 30 penalty minutes. Last season in the playoffs, he was a point-per-game player, picking up four goals and 10 points in 10 games.
Following his junior hockey with the former Winnipeg South Blues, O’Donnell joined the University of North Dakota for a four-year NCAA career. In 121 total regular season games with the Fighting Sioux, the former MJHL star put up 27 goals, 55 points and 65 penalty minutes through his collegiate career.
“With Brendan O’Donnell we have been able to sign a forward who has his qualities primarily on the offensive,” sports director Niki Mondt said in a team-issued press release. “Brendan got off to a good start, is looking for the end of the goal and also has a very good shot. With these properties he will intensify our attack and give it more depth.”
Dusseldorfer of the 15-team DEL has begun the season with two quick wins and a +4 goal differential after a 2020-21 campaign that saw the team go 18-15-5 for just 55 points in 37 games where they finished fifth in the North Division.