Bel­gium to stage Euro club fi­nals

The Hockey Paper - - NEWS - By Sam Jack­son

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

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