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    European ice hockey 20 - 21

    Rather than invading the various NHL threads from time to time, I thought that ice hockey this side of the pond deserved its own thread.

    SM Liiga, err, kicked off last night with the opening game in H?meenlinna, where we were the guests. In front of an unsurprisingly sparse crowd, officially given as 2006 but looking nowhere near that from what I could see from the TV, we grabbed all three points thanks to a 2-4 victory. We managed to end the first period 2-1 down despite being more dominant, levelled matters in the second, and finally got away from our hosts in the third. Our first line of Py?r?l? - Kunyk - and my son's would be drinking partner* Puljuj?rvi played particularly well.

    *Earlier this summer my son was ambling around the town centre when he spotted Jesse and decided to go and chat with him. The got on pretty well and so Jesse suggested they go to a pub for a beer or two. My son replied that no can do because he's only 17. Wouldn't have happened in my day...

    #2
    The Swiss National League also started last night, with SC Bern winning their first home game over Ambri-Piotta before 6000+, about a third of their usual total, but still a strong figure for most other European clubs.

    The KHL has has been playing for weeks, though the number of games clubs have been able to complete ranges from 7 to 13, thus making the standings hard to interpret.

    Comment


      #3
      The Erste Liga (Hungary/Romania) started with a couple of games a couple of weeks back. But this week was the real start. Not sure how long it's going to last to be honest. Cross border travel is problematic at the moment and this doesn't seem like it will change soon. Already one team (MAC Budapest) have come down with Covid cases and had two games postponed.

      Last year's joint winners (when the final was cancelled owing to the crisis) who were also the finalists the year before were Ferencv?ros and Cs?kszereda and the pundits appear to think they will be the top two again this year. They played on Wednesday and drew 6-6 before Fradi won on penalties.

      Comment


        #4
        Last night in Raksila, K?rp?t bade farewell to our long time captain Lasse Kukkonen, who is finally hanging up his skates after a career that seems to have gone on forever. He had planned to retire at whatever point we got knocked out of last season's play-offs, but their cancellation due to the COVID pandemic put the kybosh on his getting a proper send off from the home crowd. So he donned the number 5 shirt for one final time and led us to a 3-1 win over KooKoo. Farewell, old stalwart.

        Comment


          #5
          Following Kiekko Espoo from afar - though I’ve promised my eldest we’d take a trip over when things are more predictable - what are the prospects of this team avoiding the standard lifecycle of sports clubs in Espoo (essentially boom & bust without the boom)?

          Attendances look ok for Mestis although the size of the arena makes it look a lot more sparse than the rest of the league.

          Comment


            #6
            https://twitter.com/sportsnet/status/1312788350194114560

            Comment


              #7
              UK's EIHL has suspended plans for a 20/21 season. We were looking at a final decision being made on Sept 15th. They didnt officially cancel the season but the indefinite suspension is a cancellation in all but name. Not sure what'll happen with teams at NIHL and SNL level. It's highly unlikely that we'll see fans in rinks any time soon, particularly with the latest round of Covid restrictions on indoor events. A few players are using the opportunity to play abroad. GB international goaltender Ben Bowns has signed for Graz 99 in Austria, but was injured in one of their early league games and will be out for several weeks, if not months. Youngsters Cole Shudra (Ron Shudra's kid) and Josh Waller have signed in Sweden division 2 (tier 4?). Duggan is in Sweden (tier 3?). Josh Tetlow has gone to Finland. Mark Richardson and Stevie Lee have gone to DEL 2 and the Alps league respectively. I'm surprised that Luke Ferrara hasn't gone abroad after a superb season in Coventry. Could also add a few others that have the ability to try their luck overseas.

              As a Glasgow Clan fan I'm deeply concerned over the future of our rink. The rink is part of a shopping mall owned by Intu Group. The mall itself is successful - it's something like the 16th busiest mall in the UK, but the arena doesnt make money. There's an argument to be made that having 3000+ fans in attendance every Saturday night increases footfall for the retailers in the mall and that it's a good part of the mall's business model. The arena itself isnt really fit for purpose anymore. It's cramped, has poor facilities for fans and we've had issues with the ice surface and ice plant for pretty much the whole 10 years we've been there. Refs no longer give delay of game penalties when the nets come off the pegs because of how poor our ice is and how shallow we drill down for the net pegs. There is a group looking at the viability of a new ice sports complex in Glasgow that would serve skating, curling and hockey. Not sure if we would be part of that (we'd need at least a 4000 capacity) or if theres scope to move to the planned redevelopment of the SEC? Both of those will be in serious doubt right now due to covid. All we can really do is watch from the sidelines and hope that we've got a club with a home rink when 21/22 season comes around.

              I'm also an Adler Mannheim fan. Watch as many DEL games online as I can and I've been going over the past few years for a sports weekender. Usually get 2 games at the SAP (although I did 1 home and 1 sonderzug trip one year) and some football on the saturday. The DEL is looking at suspending the season until December, having previously hoped to start in mid November. It's also far from a done deal and if the finances don't work then the DEL may well postpone further - or even cancel. They moved from their November start date as the member clubs projected a league wide shortfall of around 60million Euro over the course of the season. Theres no way that they could sustain that kind of shortfall.

              Right now I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have some DEL hockey to watch this season, but I'm not overly hopeful. Tomorrow night's draft will be a nice distraction with Adler Mannheim's Tim Stutzle projected to go either 2nd or 3rd overall.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by BallochSonsFan View Post
                I'm also an Adler Mannheim fan. Watch as many DEL games online as I can and I've been going over the past few years for a sports weekender. Usually get 2 games at the SAP (although I did 1 home and 1 sonderzug trip one year) and some football on the saturday. The DEL is looking at suspending the season until December, having previously hoped to start in mid November. It's also far from a done deal and if the finances don't work then the DEL may well postpone further - or even cancel. They moved from their November start date as the member clubs projected a league wide shortfall of around 60million Euro over the course of the season. Theres no way that they could sustain that kind of shortfall.

                Right now I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have some DEL hockey to watch this season, but I'm not overly hopeful. Tomorrow night's draft will be a nice distraction with Adler Mannheim's Tim Stutzle projected to go either 2nd or 3rd overall.
                Sometime early in lockdown I noticed that tickets had gone on sale for one of those big outdoor games at 1.FC Koln's stadium for January 2021 (at which Mannheim would be the visitors actually) - to raise spirits I declared to the kids that we'd go, and I nearly bought tickets on the spot, just as well I didn't. The announcement wasn't universally popular however.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Walt Flanagans Dog View Post

                  Sometime early in lockdown I noticed that tickets had gone on sale for one of those big outdoor games at 1.FC Koln's stadium for January 2021 (at which Mannheim would be the visitors actually) - to raise spirits I declared to the kids that we'd go, and I nearly bought tickets on the spot, just as well I didn't. The announcement wasn't universally popular however.
                  The DEL winter game was in doubt anyway as I think there's a clash with another event at the stadium.

                  A couple of my friends went to the last outdoor game that Mannheim were involved in. They had a great time. Was Hoffenheim's stadium if I remember correctly.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The coldest I’ve ever been in my life was the outdoor Jokerit - HIFK at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, if I did it again I’d make sure to have got pleasantly drunk before getting to the stadium and so hopefully have the insulation only a load of brandies can bring.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Interesting. I'm a bit disappointed to hear that it's just about the investment of one billionaire, rather than a grassroots surge in German hockey.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by BallochSonsFan View Post
                        UK's EIHL has suspended plans for a 20/21 season. We were looking at a final decision being made on Sept 15th. They didnt officially cancel the season but the indefinite suspension is a cancellation in all but name. Not sure what'll happen with teams at NIHL and SNL level. It's highly unlikely that we'll see fans in rinks any time soon, particularly with the latest round of Covid restrictions on indoor events. A few players are using the opportunity to play abroad. GB international goaltender Ben Bowns has signed for Graz 99 in Austria, but was injured in one of their early league games and will be out for several weeks, if not months. Youngsters Cole Shudra (Ron Shudra's kid) and Josh Waller have signed in Sweden division 2 (tier 4?). Duggan is in Sweden (tier 3?). Josh Tetlow has gone to Finland. Mark Richardson and Stevie Lee have gone to DEL 2 and the Alps league respectively. I'm surprised that Luke Ferrara hasn't gone abroad after a superb season in Coventry. Could also add a few others that have the ability to try their luck overseas.

                        As a Glasgow Clan fan I'm deeply concerned over the future of our rink. The rink is part of a shopping mall owned by Intu Group. The mall itself is successful - it's something like the 16th busiest mall in the UK, but the arena doesnt make money. There's an argument to be made that having 3000+ fans in attendance every Saturday night increases footfall for the retailers in the mall and that it's a good part of the mall's business model. The arena itself isnt really fit for purpose anymore. It's cramped, has poor facilities for fans and we've had issues with the ice surface and ice plant for pretty much the whole 10 years we've been there. Refs no longer give delay of game penalties when the nets come off the pegs because of how poor our ice is and how shallow we drill down for the net pegs. There is a group looking at the viability of a new ice sports complex in Glasgow that would serve skating, curling and hockey. Not sure if we would be part of that (we'd need at least a 4000 capacity) or if theres scope to move to the planned redevelopment of the SEC? Both of those will be in serious doubt right now due to covid. All we can really do is watch from the sidelines and hope that we've got a club with a home rink when 21/22 season comes around.

                        I'm also an Adler Mannheim fan. Watch as many DEL games online as I can and I've been going over the past few years for a sports weekender. Usually get 2 games at the SAP (although I did 1 home and 1 sonderzug trip one year) and some football on the saturday. The DEL is looking at suspending the season until December, having previously hoped to start in mid November. It's also far from a done deal and if the finances don't work then the DEL may well postpone further - or even cancel. They moved from their November start date as the member clubs projected a league wide shortfall of around 60million Euro over the course of the season. Theres no way that they could sustain that kind of shortfall.

                        Right now I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have some DEL hockey to watch this season, but I'm not overly hopeful. Tomorrow night's draft will be a nice distraction with Adler Mannheim's Tim Stutzle projected to go either 2nd or 3rd overall.
                        Sorry to hear about this. British hockey just never seems to be very stable, which makes it hard to build a fan base, but there appears to be a strong core audience.
                        I hope Glasgow gets a new rink.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My sense is that the billionaire's investment has spurred more genuine grass roots interest in the sport.
                          ​​​​​​
                          Germans are notorious front runners when it comes to sports other than football and will get very invested when Germans are doing well. I saw this happen with Tennis, Formula 1, Ski Jumping and Biathlon and it now seems to be happening with Ice Hockey following the Olympic medal and Draisatl's rise in the NHL.

                          The challenge will be sustaining it.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            There's a massive new hockey centre in a village down the road from me with rinks, gyms, classrooms and medical centre (I went to the doctor there a few weeks ago for a non hockey related injury). The whole place looks amazing.

                            It's in the home village of the leader of the UDMR (Hungarian party in Romania) and of course funded by FIDESZ. I wish it well as a centre for hockey in the country but it feels a bit dirty
                            Last edited by ad hoc; 05-10-2020, 14:45.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                              My sense is that the billionaire's investment has spurred more genuine grass roots interest in the sport.
                              ​​​​​​
                              Germans are notorious front runners when it comes to sports other than football and will get very invested when Germans are doing well. I saw this happen with Tennis, Formula 1, Ski Jumping and Biathlon and it now seems to be happening with Ice Hockey following the Olympic medal and Draisatl's rise in the NHL.

                              The challenge will be sustaining it.
                              Well, it's great for the NHL if it can develop some of an audience in Germany.

                              I'm a Ravensburg Towerstars fan. Not really, but that's where my German relatives are from, and they seem to be a pretty well supported club, so I follow them on social media. They are in what counts as the AHL or Germany, I guess, though probably below the AHL in terms of money and quality.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                My sense is that the billionaire's investment has spurred more genuine grass roots interest in the sport.
                                ​​​​​​
                                Germans are notorious front runners when it comes to sports other than football and will get very invested when Germans are doing well. I saw this happen with Tennis, Formula 1, Ski Jumping and Biathlon and it now seems to be happening with Ice Hockey following the Olympic medal and Draisatl's rise in the NHL.

                                The challenge will be sustaining it.
                                The DEL has been strong for a while now. The SAP in Mannheim holds 13,800 and they regularly get crowds of more than 12,000. Cologne and Dusseldorf are big arenas. The O2 in Berlin is big. You've got a bit of a drop to the sub-10k rinks, but even those teams can get 8000 fans. Schwenninger Wild Wings and Bremerhaven Fischtown Penguins are the only 2 small teams in the DEL due to rink size. And Schwenninger being based in a relatively small town. They have 3 DEL 2 sides near by (Heilbronn, Bietigheim and Freiburg) that draw 4 figure crowds and Frankfurt can still draw around 5000. Krefeld Pinguine were in serious trouble last season but have potentially sorted their finances out. Frankfurt were looking to step up from DEL 2 to replace them but really need a bigger rink to make a dent in the DEL. I'd love to see Frankfurt back in the DEL (they've been a top flight team before) because it would be a cracking genuine derby for Mannheim. I'd also love to see a team back in Hamburg.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post

                                  Well, it's great for the NHL if it can develop some of an audience in Germany.

                                  I'm a Ravensburg Towerstars fan. Not really, but that's where my German relatives are from, and they seem to be a pretty well supported club, so I follow them on social media. They are in what counts as the AHL or Germany, I guess, though probably below the AHL in terms of money and quality.
                                  They're a DEL 2 side. It's tier 2 in Germany but crowds and quality wise it's more like the ECHL.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by BallochSonsFan View Post

                                    The DEL has been strong for a while now. The SAP in Mannheim holds 13,800 and they regularly get crowds of more than 12,000. Cologne and Dusseldorf are big arenas. The O2 in Berlin is big. You've got a bit of a drop to the sub-10k rinks, but even those teams can get 8000 fans. Schwenninger Wild Wings and Bremerhaven Fischtown Penguins are the only 2 small teams in the DEL due to rink size. And Schwenninger being based in a relatively small town. They have 3 DEL 2 sides near by (Heilbronn, Bietigheim and Freiburg) that draw 4 figure crowds and Frankfurt can still draw around 5000. Krefeld Pinguine were in serious trouble last season but have potentially sorted their finances out. Frankfurt were looking to step up from DEL 2 to replace them but really need a bigger rink to make a dent in the DEL. I'd love to see Frankfurt back in the DEL (they've been a top flight team before) because it would be a cracking genuine derby for Mannheim. I'd also love to see a team back in Hamburg.
                                    There are a few more rinks at the smaller end of the spectrum - Ingolstadt, Wolfsburg and Iserlohn are all 5,000 or under. Though I assume the first two of those get a lot of commercial backing.

                                    I like that mix in the DEL between the big city teams and those from smaller places that seem to really treasure their teams (similar to the "Rugby League towns" that clung on to top flight teams despite Sky's desire for Super League to be centred on big cities).

                                    Hannover Scorpions were another big arena team that collapsed - the first DEL team we ticked, and never did get to Hamburg (though saw them as a visiting team somewhere).

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Red Bulls Muenchen are an example of a club from a big city and rich ownership that still has a small rink (6,000 plus).

                                      AEG was hoping to replicate the 02 model in Munich and Hamburg (largely for their concert and event business), but it has yet to work (though the O2 is widely considered the most NHL quality rink in Europe).

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by BallochSonsFan View Post

                                        They're a DEL 2 side. It's tier 2 in Germany but crowds and quality wise it's more like the ECHL.
                                        That makes sense.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          From Hungary

                                          https://twitter.com/nhlonnbcsports/status/1323285153683329024

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            I didn't realise until today that the UK second tier, the NIHL, is running pilot games featuring three teams (behind closed doors but streamed) from this weekend :

                                            14 Nov – Swindon vs MK (18:15)
                                            15 Nov – Sheffield vs Swindon (17:30)
                                            21 Nov – MK vs Swindon (19:00)
                                            22 Nov – Swindon vs Sheffield (18:15)
                                            28 Nov – MK vs Sheffield (19:30)
                                            29 Nov – Sheffield vs MK (17:30)

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Some EIHL Brits have remained in the UK and were guesting for the NIHL teams.

                                              I didnt subscribe to the streams myself. Seen a range of comments from supporting it as a good way to raise some money for the game to complaining that it was an expensive stream if you're not a fan of the teams involved. It'll be interesting to see what the EIHL looks like in 2021/22. Talk of conferences returning, Are Belfast going to accept being in a conference with Glasgow, Dundee and Fife? Or will they complain about losing their extra games v Sheffield and Nottingham? If we're looking at reduced import limits and possibly going back to running 3 line hockey then for me it's time to extent the olive branch to Edinburgh and to try and get Hull involved again.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Does anyone have a view on whether today's surprise announcement of crowds at indoor events of 1000 (Tier 2 restricted areas) and up to 2000 (Tier 1 areas) would prompt any EIHL restart activity? I know when they suspended the season they said they needed 75%-100% capacity to operate and this is a long way from that for the bigger clubs (even more so for anyone who finds themselves in Tier 3 with no fans allowed) but they've had some funding from the Government in the meantime which might go some way to plugging the gap?

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  I'm hoping for some Xmas-time challenge matches at least, perhaps with a truncated league season following.

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