Gantoise back in gear for double EHL-challenge

Gantoise’s women’s and men’s teams are both getting their season back and up and running on Sunday with EHL FINAL8 thoughts on their mind.

Both produced strong first halves to the campaign following their championship wins season and they will look to bring that momentum into the second phase.

For the women, they will go to Royal Léopold on Sunday with a record of 12 wins out of 13 games on their card with a nine-point lead to their name.

And coach Kevan Demartinis says it has been quite the performance after a very short preparation for the new season with many of his panel involved on the international stage.

“Our most important moment of the first round? That was without a doubt Friday, September 8,” said Demartinis to the Ion Hockey League website.

“After all, that was the only training before the start of the competition where the team was fully present. Our preparation was not ideal, but that day meant a ‘big moment’ for our group.

“What I remember most about the first round is that our new players were fitted in quickly and smoothly. We built a good foundation to start part two of the competition later.”

Despite three titles in a row, Demartinis wants to continue to challenge his players. 

“We can still improve in all areas,” he says. “We must never be satisfied too quickly and must always continue to grow. We want to be there at the start of the play-offs. We have to be ready to take on any team.”

They will have four weeks of matches before the EHL FINAL8 date with SCHC on Friday, March 29 at 3.30pm (CET).

That fixture will be followed on court by Gantoise’s men at 5.45pm (CET) in a battle with SV Kampong. Pascal Kina’s side are currently second in the Belgian league at the head of a highly competitive group chasing the playoff spots behind runaway leaders Léo.

They lost four of their first seven games but were subsequently unbeaten in their next six fixtures to rise up the rankings.

“We had a difficult start to the competition,” says Guillaume Hellin. “Fortunately, other teams also lost points, so we are still fully participating for the play-offs.

“The ION Hockey League is extremely interesting to follow this season. After a match there is always excitement waiting to see what the scores will be in the other matches. Really all teams can win or lose against each other.

“We know what needs to be improved in the second round and we will work hard on that from now on. We have a young team and we have to learn from our mistakes. 

“We now have to keep our eye on the play-off spot first and foremost and anything can happen from there.”