BUDAPEST – The groups for the 2008-2009 IIHF Continental Cup were determined at a meeting with the participating clubs on Saturday.
In total, 19 teams from as many countries will participate in the four-stage competition, which is the second international men’s club competition in Europe after the Champions Hockey League.
The Super Final of the Continental Cup will be in Rouen, 100 kilometres north-west from Paris, with the French champion Dragons de Rouen hosting. Also seeded for the final tournament is the Slovakian top team MHC Martin.
Rouen is one of the most successful clubs in France. In 2003-2004, they qualified for the Super Final by winning the second-round tournament on home ice and winning the third-round tournament in Herning, Denmark.
Rouen performed its biggest international upsets in the early nineties. In 1992-1993, they beat Swedish champion Malmo, 4-3, in the semi-final home tournament to qualify for the final round. Two years earlier, they also qualified for the final tournament thanks to victories over Swedish champion Djurgarden Stockholm and Czechoslovakian champion Dukla Jihlava.
The IIHF Continental Cup has been played since 1997. Last year, Russia’s Ak Bars Kazan won the Super Final in Riga, Latvia.
First round, September 19-21, 2008:
Group A in Novi Sad, Serbia: HC Novi Sad (SRB), Dundalk Bulls (IRL), KHL Mladost Zagreb (CRO), Slavia Sofia (BUL). Stand-by: team from Turkey.
Second round, October 17-19, 2008:
Group B in Elektrenai, Lithuania: Energija Elektrenai (LTU), Cracovia Krakow (POL), Sokil Kyiv (UKR), Tilburg Trappers (NED).
Group C in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania: SC Miercurea Ciuc (ROM), D.E. Dunaujvaros (HUN), CG Puigcerda (ESP), Winner Group A.
Third round, November 21-23, 2008:
Group D in Liepaja, Latvia: Liepajas Metalurgs (LAT), Keramin Minsk (BLR), ICH Gornyak Rudny (KAZ), Winner Group B.
Group E in Bolzano, Italy: Bolzano Foxes (ITA), Coventry Blaze (GBR), HDK Maribor (SLO), Winner Group C.
Super Final, January 16-18, 2009:
Group F in Rouen, France: Dragons de Rouen (FRA), MHC Martin (SVK), Winner Group D, Winner Group E.