Posted by Manchester Kurt on January 26, 1998 at 17:20:39:
This is a press release from the EHL concerning next years entrants, as Feldrich have won the EHL and Austria only have one entrant, unless they win the Austrain league they are going to get the ONLY wildcard place in next years EHL. However as it looks like Ayr will win the league and the EHL retains the right to tell any to bog off if their rink is too small we may still get asked to take place again next year.
January 21, 1998
Subject: The European Hockey League towards the 1998/99 season
The EHL Top Four Final will be played this weekend in Austrian Feldkirch, between Russians Dynamo Moscow and Torpedo Yaroslavl, Czech Petra Vsetin and local VEU Feldkirch, to complete the second season of the European Hockey League. Although the main interest is focused on the games for the EHL Silver Stone, the guidelines for the coming season have already been worked out mid in December in Moscow, Russia, by the EHL Working Committee, chaired by EHL Vice President Kalervo Kummola, and then approved by the EHL Executive Board. The guidelines were circulated to all the EHL territories who, within the deadline of January 20, had to confirm their participation after having contacted their National Leagues and clubs. The 12 invited EHL countries have all confirmed their participation to the 1998/99 season and their acceptance of the EHL guidelines, with Switzerland and Czech Republic who will get the final confirmation on occasion of the general assembly of their National Leagues, both scheduled on January 31.
IIHF President René Fasel is expecting a great success from the EHL Top Four Final, which will also represent the ideal springboard for the future season: "The final stage of the EHL will take place after 80 exciting games played all over Europe. Feldkirch is a venue with a great tradition, organising knowledge and spectators interest. These 3 combined factors will guarantee for the success of the event. Four among the best European clubs made their way to the EHL Top Four Final, and although only one will be able to put the hands on the EHL Silver Stone, I wish all the competitors the best success. As for the next EHL season, it is not a surprise to me that all the 12 invited countries have already confirmed their participation to the EHL, according to the guidelines optimally prepared by the EHL Working Committee. This means that the introductory stage of the EHL is almost over and we can look forward to the future to secure the best development of our new roduct. The adjustment to the existing regulations will guarantee the EHL to be even more attractive, while the IIHF, together with the commercial partner CWL, will work hard for securing a better exposure, larger centralised sponsor participation and more financial revenue opportunities for the EHL clubs".
The 1998/99 season will be played once again by 24 clubs representing 12 countries, with the following participation: Austria (1 club), Czech Republic (3), Finland (3), France (1), Germany (3), Great Britain (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Russia (3), Switzerland (2), Slovakia (1), Sweden (3). The assigned spots are 23, the 24th will be assigned at discretion of the EHL Executive Board after the confirmation of the 23 invited clubs. Invited to the EHL will be in principle the National champions and where the representation in the League is expanded to 2 or 3 clubs, the runner-up and/or other clubs appointed according to the rules of the National Associations, to be approved by the EHL Executive Board. The EHL Executive Board retains as well the right, as to the countries represented by 3 clubs, to invite one key club (a club which for tradition, organization, central location in respect to the media etc. is in condition to guarantee the best exposure to the EHL) within the National country representation, if no key club is included in the list presented by the National Association. The winner of the EHL 1997/98 season will automatically participate in the coming EHL season, even if not National champion or runner-up. In any case, the number of the participating clubs assigned to each National Association will not be increased, in case the single National Association is already represented by 2 or 3 clubs (this case applies if Dynamo Moscow, Torpedo Yaroslavl or Petra Vsetin win the EHL). Should the winner of the EHL belong to a National Association represented only by 1 club and be as well National champion, the participation will not be enlarged, with the club representing at the same time the EHL winner and the National champion. If the winner of the EHL is not National champion, than the National Association representation will be enlarged by one, with the EHL Executive Board making use of the 24th free spot (this case applies to VEU Feldkirch). Like in the 1997/98 season, the 24 clubs will be seeded by the EHL Executive Board into 6 divisions with 4 teams each, playing 3 games home ad 3 away for a total of 6 playing days. Tuesday has been confirmed as playing day. The first change with the 1997/98 season is represented by the qualified teams to the playoffs: the first 2 teams in each Division will qualify for the playoffs (in the current season the winner and the 2 best second placed clubs advanced to the second stage) for a total of 12 clubs. The clubs will be paired into six playoffs legs (one home and one away game), with the winner of each leg that will advance to the Semifinal Round. The six qualified club will be seeded into two tournaments of 3 clubs each, to be played on a weekend in two different sites. The winners of the two tournaments will reach the EHL Final, that will be played in two games, one home and one away.
The 1998/99 EHL season will start on September 15, 1998. The Division Round will be completed on December 8. The Playoff Round will be played on January 5 and 12, 1999, the Semifinal Round in the weekend of 22-24 January, the EHL Final on February 9 and 16. In total, 92 games will be played, 8 more than in the current season. As for the playing rules, the 3 points system will be maintained in the Division Round, while the center ice red line icing will be reconfirmed only if the new IIHF off-side rule will not be introduced. In order to guarantee the best possible exposure to the EHL, the commercial partner, CWL Telesport will secure TV highlights and news excerpts for each playing day. The Division Rounds seeding and game schedule for the 1998/99 season will be released on occasion of the IIHF World Championship Pool A in Switzerland from May 1 to 17, 1998, when the EHL General Board will meet.
The Marketing Manager of Skoda, Frank Farsky, will attend the EHL Top Four Final in Feldkirch, and in this occasion he will meet with the EHL management and with the representatives of the commercial partner, CWL Marketing, to develop further strategies for the coming seasons.
For further questions
Paolo Ianieri EHL Media and Communication Manager
Tel. +41 1 289 86 07 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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