ZURICH – It took less than two hours to sell the 6,200 tickets for Wednesday’s first Champions Hockey League semi-final between ZSC Lions Zurich and the Espoo Blues at Rapperswil-Jona’s Diners Club Arena.
Since Zurich's regular home rink, the Hallenstadion (10,700 capacity), is booked for bicycle races next week, the Swiss champion had to move venues for its semi-final game on Wednesday, against Finland’s Espoo Blues to the Diners Club Arena, the home of Swiss league rival, Rapperswil-Jona.
Tickets went on sale at 10:00 on Friday and the last ticket was sold at 11:45. In the afternoon, the IIHF made another 200 tickets available and at 17:45 they were grabbed by ZSC fans.
It is only the second time this season that the modern, but medium sized, arena will be sold out. The Lakers enjoyed a capacity crowd on November 14 against HC Davos.
Rapperwsil-Jona is located on Lake Zurich’s east shore, 25 km southeast of downtown Zurich. The second semi-final game is in Espoo on January 7.
KHL clubs Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulayev Ufa are playing in the other semi-final, with Wednesday’s game at Magnitogorsk’s Arena Metallurg. Also this game is expected to be a sell-out (7,700).
ZSC continued its successful Swiss league run, defeating Fribourg-Gottéron 5-4 on Friday. It was the club's 11th win in the last 12 outings.
The Blues will be rested for the semi-final. Espoo has no league games between the last CHL group stage game in Jönköping and the first semi-final.