The ABN AMRO EHL festival tips off on Wednesday night with two high-quality men’s matches kick-starting six days and 35 matches in the world’s premier club hockey competition.
The Wagener Stadium is the stage for opening night with French champions Saint Germain up against England’s Surbiton at 16.15 (CET) before the clash of Dutch giants SV Kampong and Germany’s Uhlenhorst Mülheim at 18.30 (CET).
For Saint Germain, they are one of the EHL’s most regular features, this will be their 13th season in the men’s competition. Their youthful line-up – coached by former Lille and Dragons man Matthias Dierckens – are hoping to make an impact in the opening game with captain William-Ike Jeammot a key figure with 13 goals to his name this term.
In a transitional phase, they are currently third in the French league and they face a Surbiton side who were recently dethroned as English champions by the rising force of Old Georgians.
Domestically, the Londoners have a chance of landing a European spot on the last day of the regular season following a 5-1 win over Wimbledon last Saturday. Luke Taylor tops the Londonders’ scoring charts with 20 goals this term and he shares the corner flicking duties with Welsh gun Gareth Furlong.
Game two of the day pits SV Kampong against Uhlenhorst Mülheim with a wealth of world class talent on display.
For Kampong, they are packed with Olympians with top scorer Jip Janssen (19 Hoofdklasse goals this season), Jonas de Geus, Lars Balk and Sander de Wijn at the heart of things while David Harte is back in goal after a lengthy spell out.
They are joined by rising stars Silas Lageman, Terrance Pieters, Derck de Vilder and Ties Ceulemans but Robbert Kemperman has an injury issue.
Uhlenhorst Mülheim are contesting their eighth EHL campaign hoping to push on for a first medal in this new version of the competition. They were nine times European Champions (1988-1996) of the old European Cup and there are many links between the players from that generation and the current squad.
Coached by Olympic gold medalist and club legend Thilo Stralkowski and fellow club legend Tobias Matania, the side is looking to cause an impression in the KO12.
Drag-flicker Lukas Windfeder, the flying Timm Herzbruch and the ultra consistent Benedikt Fürk are guiding lights in the side, setting off the likes of Malte Hellwig, Jan Schiffer and Niklas Bosserhoff.
The two games form part of the curtailed KO12 phase of the competition due to the exclusion of clubs from Russia and Belarus this season due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The winners will advance to the KO8 round on Friday with the losers going into a classification match on Thursday.
Day two will feature KO8 fixtures between Club de Campo de Madrid and Austria’s SV Arminen and the evening meeting between Atlètic Terrassa and HC Blomenedaal, a repeat of the 2021 men’s GRAND FINAL.
Friday is a bumper date with the four women’s KO8 fixtures up for decision at the Wagener Stadium, starting off with Gantoise against Surbiton (09.30 CET) before reigning champs HC ’s-Hertogenbosch meet Ireland’s Pegasus (11.30 CET).
Hosts AH&BC Amsterdam lead off the evening schedule at 16.00 CET against Club de Campo, finalists in 2021, and Düsseldorfer HC make their debut against Junior FC, another newcomer, at 18.15 CET.
In between, KHC Dragons men (13.45 CET) and Rot Weiss Köln (20.30 CET) are awaiting their opponent.
In tandem with this event, the men’s EHL Cup gets underway at Club Egara with eight clubs battling it out for their title in Terrassa, Spain.
Day one there sees Austria’s Post SV make their EHL debut against the host club at 12.00 CET; HC Rotterdam take on Three Rock Rovers at 14.15 CET; Mannheimer HC and Hampstead & Westminster have their third meeting in the EHL since 2019 at 16.30 CET and Scotland’s Grange face Waterloo Ducks in the fourth of those quarter-finals at 18.45 CET.