ZURICH – The IIHF Champions Hockey League committee announced that Nuremberg, Germany, will host the three-team, three-game qualifying tournament to determine the 12th team for the inaugural 2008-2009 CHL.
The participating teams in the qualifier are the Sinupret Ice Tigers, Nuremberg (GER), SC Bern (SUI) and HC Kosice (SVK). The dates for the qualifier are September 12-14, 2008.
Bern and Kosice also applied to host the tournament.
“As far as Bern is concerned, we are happy that they back up this decision,” said IIHF General Secretary Horst Lichtner.
“SCB is in the process of finalizing the reconstruction of the PostFinance Arena and by not going with the qualifier to Bern in mid-September we ensure that the construction process will continue according to schedule and that the arena will be ready to host the Victoria Cup event, starting on September 30,” says Lichtner.
Kalervo Kummola (FIN) is the chairman of the Champions Hockey League committee.
“The bids from Nuremberg and Kosice were virtually equal and both were very ambitiously presented,” says Kummola. “What made the committee decide on Nuremberg was mainly the geographical location and logistics. As far as travel it made most sense to go Nuremberg with the tournament. We also know from the 2001 IIHF World Championship that the arena is of the highest quality.”
The Arena Nurnberger Versicherung has a capacity of 8,200 (incl. 3,600 standing room) and was built in 2001.
“It is a great honour for us to be appointed organizer of this tournament,” said Ice Tigers GM and owner Gunther Hertel. “The efforts of club manager Otto Sykora and his crew, to get this tournament to Nuremberg, got rewarded. This tournament is going to be a very special moment for our town and the region.”
The reaction among the Ice Tigers’ players was overwhelming. “This is going to be a highlight for many of our players,” said the Ice Tigers’ German national team forward Peter Fical. “Most of them have not participated at such a high international club level before. It will be very good test for us.”Preliminary schedule:
Friday, September 12: SIT Ice Tigers – SC Bern
Saturday, September 13: SC Bern – HC Kosice
Sunday, September 14: HC Kosice – SIT Ice Tigers
The winner of the CHL qualifier will play in Champions Hockey League Group B with HV71 Jonkoping (SWE) and the Espoo Blues (FIN). Click here for the 2008-2009 Champions Hockey League groups and schedule.