Belgium to stage Euro club finals
THE finals of the Euro Hockey League will be staged in Belgium for the first time this summer, with KHC Dragons set to host the ultimate stages of the tenth edition of the world’s best club competition.
EHL chairman HansErik Tuijt made the early announcement to give the 16 clubs remaining in the competition the best chance to plan their route to glory on June 3-4.
English hopes Wimbledon are among the last 16 in Europe’s premier knockout competition and will pit their wits against German outfit UHC Hamburg – three-time EHL winners – in April.
Tuijt said: “It is our aim to release the dates and locations for the EHL events as early as possible to our hockey fans in Europe.
“This helps our local organisers to provide a memorable hockey experience and fans can plan their journey in time. This is why I am very pleased the board of KHC Dragons has worked out the plan to host the finals from as early as January.”
The Euro Hockey League final will add to a list of top events hosted by the Brasschaat club, based in the north of Antwerp, with their famous “D-side” supporters group set to brew up a storm in the stands.
In 2015, the KHC Dragons welcomed almost 45,000 fans for the World League semi-finals in one of the biggest hockey events held in Belgium, showing their ability to put together a major tournament.
The event acted as the qualifying stages for the Olympic Games, where the Red Lions went on to win a silver medal in Rio with Belgian hockey continuing its rapid rise.
The Dragons also hosted round one in October 2011 while the city, at the home of Royal Antwerp, also hosted that stage of the competition in the first year of the EHL, giving a neat symmetry for this tenth season.
KHC Dragons chairman Hans Borstlap is delighted his club will get to host the pinnacle of the European club season.
He said: “We are very excited to host our European hockey friends at our beautiful club. We believe we can give all our guests a great experience of top hockey combined with the joy of the good life.”
Euro hopes: Wimbledon will face Hamburg