All Set for Round 3
by Henrik Manninen|16 NOV 2023
With 12 games to be played during three days, the 2024 IIHF Continental Cup enters its penultimate stage between 17-19 November 2023. Contested at two separate venues across the Alps region of Europe, Round 3 sees eight teams vying to reach the summit of the competition. Played in a round-robin format, the top two teams from each group progress to the Final played between 12-14 January 2024.

Group E

  • Cardiff Devils (GBR)
  • Nomad (KAZ)
  • Bruleurs De Loups (FRA)
  • Zemgale Jelgava (LAT)

Played in Patinoire Pole Sud, Grenoble, France.

Finishing third as Continental Cup debutants last season, the Cardiff Devils aim to improve on their position this year. Entering the semi-final stage as top seeds of Group E, head coach Pete Russell will be pleased with the recent form of netminder Ben Bowns. The 32-year-old Yorkshireman was an integral member as Russell coached Team GB to the top spot at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division IA. The current Devils troika of Mark Richardson, Josh Waller and Evan Mosey also featured when Team GB struck gold last spring.

Teams from Kazakhstan enjoyed an impressive recent record at the Continental Cup. Arlan Kokshetau won the competition in 2019 while three other Kazakh teams have finished second since 2017. One of those latter teams was Nomad from the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan in their Continental Cup debut in 2018. With a five-hour time difference for Nomad to get adjusted to, the most far-flung participant now eyes a second tilt in the final.

Back in the 2010 Continental Cup, Damien Fleury was an up-and-coming forward when Bruleurs De Loups finished fourth in the final staged on home ice in Grenoble. Following a stellar career, 37-year-old Fleury has come full circle to make his second appearance in the competition for the Wolf Burners (Bruleurs De Loups). The French Cup Champions make their eighth appearance in the Continental Cup with head coach Jyrki Aho able to call upon four players from France´s 2023 World Championship roster.

Zemgale Jelgava's Rihards Cimermanis was voted the top netminder as the Latvians progressed as winners from the previous round. The 30-year-old netminder is expected to be severely put to the test as Artis Abols´s coached team arrives in Grenoble on a high. Currently top of the Latvian championship, Zemgale eyes an improvement on the sole point they notched as debutants at this level last season.

Group F

  • Herning Blue Fox (DEN)
  • GKS Katowice (POL)
  • SG Cortina (ITA)
  • Ferencvarosi TC (HUN),

Played in Stadio Olimpico, Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy.

In their eleventh appearance, the Herning Blue Fox aspire for an improvement on the team´s most recent outing in the Continental Cup. In 2016, the Danes progressed to the final round where they finished second. Two home-grown blueliners Jakob Jessen and Patrick Madsen remain from that team as the Jutlanders arrive in Italy as top-seeds. The 16-fold domestic record champions are currently in second place in the Danish league.

Eight different nationalities form the GKS Katowice roster coached by Polish hockey legend, Jacek Plachta. Maciej Kruczek, Bartosz Fraszko, Mateusz Michalski, Grzegorz Pasiut and netminder John Murray all played their part in lifting Poland to the top division of the IIHF World Championship for the first time since 2002. Current runaway leader in the Polish league, the Silesians make their fourth appearance in the Continental Cup and previously skated once in the final round in 2019.

Built for the 1956 Winter Olympics, hosts SG Cortina hope to create new memories in front of their home fans inside the historical Stadio Olimpico in the team´s Continental Cup debut. Cortina´s Tommaso Traversa is the sole Cortina player who skated for Italy at the 2023 IIHF World Championship Division IA, but also previously played twice in the Continental Cup for Ritten/Renon. They are led on the bench by head coach Giorgio De Bettin who stayed faithful to Cortina. Currently fifth in the 16-team cross-border Alps Hockey League.

Ferencvarosi TC appears to be on a roll. They strolled through the previous round of the Continental Cup and won their last four tough league games. Team captain Gergo Nagy was one of two Ferencvaros players on Hungary´s 2023 World Championship roster in Tampere. The other one, Gergely Arany was an unused back-up goalie in Finland but will have plenty of opportunity to shine in Group F for the team affectionately known as Fradi.
Game Schedule : Group E | Group F