The breathtakingly beautiful city of Barcelona is ready for the latest instalment of the Euro Hockey League, the world’s most innovative and exciting club hockey competition. The sixth season of the EHL gets underway on Friday morning, with the Pau Negre Stadium in Parc del Migdia playing host to three days of intense action between 12 of Europe’s finest club teams. It is the fourth time that Spain has played host to a Euro Hockey League competition weekend.
"I am delighted that the EHL will be back in Spain”, said Jorge Alcover, EHF Vice President and Board member of the EHL. “The fact that I live in Barcelona makes this Round 1.1 tournament something special to me.“
Round 1.1 of this season’s EHL will witness the teams in Pools A, C, E and F fighting it out in a bid to earn their place at Easter’s magnificent KO16 event, which will take place in The Netherlands. Eight places for KO16 are up for grabs in Barcelona, with the two highest ranked teams in each Pool ensuring qualification for the next phase. The teams that finish bottom in each Pool will be eliminated from the competition. A further 12 sides will hope to claim the remaining eight KO16 berths when EHL Round 1.2 takes place at East Grinstead HC in just over two weeks’ time. It will be the first time that a Euro Hockey League event has been played on British soil.
The competition in Barcelona features some of the world’s most gifted individuals representing Europe’s most famous club teams. Pool A’s Amsterdam H&BC (NED) can boast the talents of Spain captain Santi Freixa, Dutch penalty corner legend Taeke Taekema and Billy Bakker, a player who lit up the London 2012 Olympic Games with staggering individual performances en-route to winning a Silver medal with The Netherlands. Amsterdam will face England’s Beeston HC and WKS Grunwald Poznan of Poland. Beeston are currently flying high at the top of the England Hockey league, having won all of their matches so far. Their squad has been boosted by the arrival of Harry Martin, the 19-year-old who excelled for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Grunwald are still unbeaten in Polish Hockey League this season, and will hope to continue their good form in the EHL this weekend.
In Pool C, German champions and Euro Hockey League newcomers Berliner HC will face stiff competition from Scotland’s Grange HC and the star-studded H.C. Rotterdam (NED). “BHC” have not made the greatest start to their defence of the German title, currently sitting ninth in the table having won just two of their eight matches so far. Rotterdam – a side containing all-time EHL top scorer Jeroen Hertzberger (26 goals) – have also started slowly in their national league campaign, but are always strong performers in the Euro Hockey League. Grange HC will go into the competition as underdogs, but their recent 6-1 thrashing of AMN Hillhead in the Scottish league suggests that they will be determined to prove themselves in the Barcelona competition.
Spanish champions Atlètic Terrassa HC will be aiming to take their domestic dominance into the Euro Hockey League when they do battle with Belgium’s Royal Léopold THC and Izmailovo Moscow of Russia in Pool E. Atlètic have made their usual strong start to the Spanish Division de Honor Masculina A and currently sit top of the league having won their first three matches. EHL newcomers Royal Léopold also enter the competition in excellent form, with a recent 4-3 victory over former EHL semi finalists KHC Leuven keeping them at the top of the Belgian Hockey League. Izmailovo Moscow finished runners up in the Russian League last season, and will be hoping to continue their on-field success by earning KO16 qualification here in Barcelona.
Izmailovo’s Russian rivals HC Dinamo Kazan will compete in Pool F where they face stiff opposition against HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim (GER) and Club de Campo de Madrid (ESP). Kazan are an ever-present in the Euro Hockey League, having played in all six editions of the tournament. Mülheim are currently sitting second the the Bundesliga, but come arrive in Barcelona on the back of a 5-1 defeat against league leaders Harvestehude. Club de Campo are second in the Spanish league having claimed two wins and a draw from their three matches. Their most recent league match was against RC de Polo de Barcelona, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw. Campo have big ambitions for this year’s competition, a fact proven by their signing of Germany superstar and double Olympic Gold medallist Moritz Fuerste. “Mo” guided former club UHC Hamburg to an incredible three Euro Hockey League titles in five seasons, being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player on two separate occasions.
The action from Barcelona begins on Friday morning at 0930 (Central European Standard Time) when Pool A opponents Beeston and WKS Grunwald Poznan go head to head. That match is followed by the Pool E encounter between Royal Leopold THC and Izmailovo Moscow before Dinamo Kazan take on Club de Campo de Madrid in Pool F at 14.30. The final match of the day will be played at 1700hrs, with H.C. Rotterdam facing Grange HC in Pool C. A full list of fixtures for the entire weekend can be found below.
EHLHOCKEY.TV, the official website of the Euro Hockey League, will be providing full coverage of the tournament, including free live-streaming, video highlights, action photos, match summaries and all official documentation. The tournament will also be covered on Twitter through @EHLHockeyTV . For full information about the competition, please visit www.ehlhockey.tv .
Round 1.1 Barcelona - Fixtures & Appointments
(all times are local - Central European Standard Time)
Friday 12 October 2012
09.30hrs Beeston HC v WKS Grunwald Poznań (Pool A)
12.00hrs Royal Leopold THC v Izmailovo Moscow (Pool E)
14.30hrs Dinamo Kazan v Club de Campo Madrid (Pool F)
17.00hrs H.C. Rotterdam v Grange HC (Pool C)
Saturday 13 October 2012
09.30hrs Amsterdam H&BC v Beeston HC (Pool A)
12.00hrs Atlètic Terrassa HC v Izmailovo Moscow (Pool E)
14.30hrs Dinamo Kazan v HTC Uhlenhorst Mulheim (Pool F)
17.00hrs Berliner HC v Grange HC (Pool C)
Sunday 14 October 2012
09.30 hrs Amsterdam H&BC v WKS Grunwald Poznań (Pool A)
12.00 hrs Atlètic Terrassa HC v Royal Leopold THC (Pool E)
14.30 hrs HTC Uhlenhorst Mulheim v Club de Campo Madrid (Pool F)
17.00 hrs Berliner HC v H.C. Rotterdam (Pool C)
Tournament Director - Scott Baird (SCO)
Technical Officer - David Ellcock (ENG)
Judge - Olivier Plate (FRA)
Judge - Chris Brewer (WAL)
Judge - Michael Kriegel (GER)
Judge (Local) - Walter Joosten (ESP)
Judge (Local) - Guillem Ramal (ESP)
Umpires Manager - Rob Ten Cate (NED)
Umpires Manager - Jean Duncan (SCO)
Umpire - Sebastien Duterme (BEL)
Umpire - Bruce Bale (ENG)
Umpire - Warren Mccully (IRL)
Umpire - Michael Eilmer (AUT)
Umpire - Fabian Blasch (GER)
Umpire - Benjamin Mauss (FRA)
Umpire - Jakub Mejzlik (CZE)
Umpire - Gregory Maya-Perez (FRA)
Umpire - Coen Van Bunge (NED)
Video Umpire (local) - Diego Estebanez (ESP)
Video Umpire - Mikael Mattsson (SWE)
EHL Round 1: How the Pools work
The top two clubs in each pool progress to round 2, while the club finishing third in each pool is eliminated from this season’s competition. The points system for the Pool phase is as follows.
5 points for a win
2 points for a draw
1 point for a loss with goal difference of no more than 2
0 points for a loss with more than 2 goals between the teams
Should any drawn match go to a penalty shoot-out competition, then the winner of that shoot-out competition shall receive 1 bonus point, in addition to the points which it has earned from the draw.
As well as deciding the outcome of each Pool, the points collected by each team count towards the Euro Hockey League Ranking Table which decides how many teams from each nation will take part in the competition the following season. Full information about the EHL Ranking Table can be found at www.ehlhockey.tv, the official website if the Euro Hockey League.
Source Material: Euro Hockey League.
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