Stage set for ROUND1 as EHL ends field goal trial rule

The stage has been set for the 12th edition of the Euro Hockey League as the ROUND1 groups for the world’s best club hockey competition were confirmed today.

ROUND1 will return to Barcelona’s Pau Negre in the Olympic district of the city from October 5-7, 2018 where 12 of Europe’s top clubs will battle it out for the four tickets to the KO16.

It is the first step on the road to the Alain Danet Trophy, a season which will see a couple of changes to the competition.

Firstly, following opinions from players, umpires and fans, the EHL has decided not to continue with the field goal equals two trial. From ROUND1 in October, every goal will return to equaling one whether it comes from the field or a penalty corner.

Secondly, due to the changing nature of the hockey calendar, the EHL will combine the KO16 and FINAL4 events at Easter, making a six-day carnival of hockey from April 17 to 22, 2019.

In addition, for the 2019/20 season, there will be some competition changes in the EHL due to the calendar congestion which we will announce in full in due course.

For now, the most important information is that the total number of teams involved will be reduced from 24 to 20 from the 2019/20 season. The four teams will come from the different categories.

As for the draw, the four groups of three have been outlined following the draw conducted by EHF Director General Angus Kirkland and EHL board member Jorge Alcover.

Pool A will be headed up by Oranje-Rood, runners-up in 2017 and the champions – as Oranje-Zwart – in 2015. They are joined by Austria’s SV Arminen who they beat 2-0 in the KO16 on their victory run in 2015 as well as Scotland’s Grange.

Mannheimer HC and Argentine penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat are the number one seeds in Pool B. They face a potential cracker against England’s Wimbledon, a repeat of their 2017 KO8 showdown, as well as the dangerous Dinamo Elektrostal.

Pool C is headed up by Royal Leopold who are back in the competition and looking to reach the KO16 for a third time. They will be big favourites against Belarussian newcomers HC Minsk and Poland’s ever-present side WKS Grunwald Poznan.

Finally, Pool D sees Junior FC taking on the role of the most local club as the Spanish side look to make it an EHL debut to remember. They have a well-matched line-up, taking on Racing Club de France and Irish champions Three Rock Rovers.

Top spot in each group will advance to the EHL KO16 next Easter. The confirmed EHL ROUND1 schedule will be confirmed and announced on Friday with ticket information to follow soon after.

EHL ROUND1 draw (Pau Negre Stadium, Barcelona, October 5-7, 2018)
Pool A: HC Oranje-Rood, Grange, SV Arminen
Pool B: Mannheimer HC, Wimbledon, Dinamo Elektrostal
Pool C: Royal Leopold, HC Minsk, WKS Grunwald Poznan
Pool D: Junior FC, Racing Club de France, Three Rock Rovers

Byes to KO16 (subject to confirmation via entry forms due by August 1, 2018):

Netherlands: SV Kampong, AH&BC Amsterdam
Germany: Uhlenhorst Mülheim, Rot-Weiss Köln
Belgium: KHC Dragons, Waterloo Ducks
Spain: Real Club de Polo, Club Egara
France: Saint Germain
England: Surbiton
Russia: Dinamo Kazan
Scotland: Grove Menzieshill