24 year old U.S. National team back court/wing, Gary Hines has signed a contract with German club, DJK Waldbuttelbrunn. Waldbuttelbrunn currently plays in the Bavaria state league and is currently in danger of relegation to a lower division.
Team Handball News contributor and former Atlanta Condor goalie, Bjoern Brembs, played a key role in facilitating this signing. Brembs had first seen Hines play in 2001 and subsequently played with him on two trips to Brazil in 2002 and 2004. DJK Waldbuttelbrun coach Horia Markel-Suciu also went on those trips and was impressed with Hines’ raw talent.
Since those trips there had been talk of Hines potentially playing in Germany, but it is only coming to fruition now. In the intervening time Hines has been a mainstay on the U.S. National team and also played a short stint with Tolimar Tres de Mayo in the Spanish 2nd Division in the 2nd half of the 2006-07 season . Brembs has not seen Hines play since 2004, so he can not fully gage his progression in the past four years, but he anticipates him scoring at least 5 goals a game and thus being a big help for his team facing relegation. More importantly, his expectation is that “his spectacular playing style will create enthusiasm among the many fans and supporters of the club which will invigorate and empower the other players as well and will create a positive atmosphere where it will be easier to win the tough games.”
Although a natural wing, Brembs thinks that Hines will be an effective backcourt scorer in the Bavarian League. Under Coach Horia’s tutelage he also anticipates some rapid progression in his technical play which could very well lead to interest from higher division club in 1-2 years.
Where DJK Waldbuttelbrunn sits in the German club hierarchy:
1) HBL (German Bundesliga) (1 League/18 Teams)
2) 2nd Bundesliga North and South (2 Leagues/36 Teams)
3) Regional Leagues (5 Leagues/80 Teams)
4) State Leagues (16 leagues/ 229 Teams) DJK Waldbuttelbrunn’s level
(Below the State leagues there are 4-5 lower levels of play)
USA Federation website article: http://www.usateamhandball.org/news/index.html?article_id=73
DJK Waldbuttelbrunn website article (with pictures): http://www.djk-waldbuettelbrunn.de/newsentry.cfm?nid=2316573
Bavarian League Standings: http://www.bliga.info/bl2_spiel/tabelle.php
(Note: Thanks to Handball-World’s Christian Stein for his contributions to this article)