The finalists of this year's Champions Hockey League (CHL), the hockey equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, have been determined: on 4 February, the Gothenburg Frölunda Indians will face off against the Czech team Mountfield Hradec Králové. Both teams have asserted themselves against 15 other European teams who had previously qualified for the CHL in national games. Although they are now neck and neck, this duel is a case of David meeting Goliath.
Why? Because the Swedes have an impressive track record. The CHL has existed for five seasons; the Frölunda Indians reached the finals in four out of five thereof. And they have won the title three times, including last year. Founded in 1932, they have enjoyed a wave of success since the late 1950s. In hockey-loving Sweden, they quickly became the most successful team and won their first title in the Swedish league in 1965. Today, the Frölunda Indians, who are based in Götenburg, are a crowd-puller; they attract an average of over 10,000 visitors per game. The Swedes will therefore be hitting the ice as an impressive defender of the CHL title.
Mountfield Hradec Králové’s situation is quite different. They are only the second Czech team to make it to a CHL final, and the first Czech team to host a CHL final. The finals will be played in their hometown, Hradec Králove, which is situated about 110 kilometers east of Prague. This gives the team a certain home advantage, which they will need when they play against the Scandinavian favorites. Although the team was founded in 1925, so before the Frölunda Indians, the town did not have an indoor artificial ice rink until 1956 – until that time, they practiced out of doors. At the end of the 1950s, the club made it into the second Czech league, which was followed by a constant up and down between the second and first league.
As an official partner of the CHL, LGT will also be part of the action during the finals, where it will present the two most important awards of the season: the LGT Most Valuable Player and the LGT Top Scorer. The Most Valuable Player is chosen in two rounds; the first round is based on fan votes only, the second is based on the votes of a jury of experts. Fan voting is now in its final round, with the following three players still in the running: defenseman Olle Alsing, Djurgården Stockholm, goalie Jonas Hiller, EHC Biel, and forward Ryan Lasch, Frölunda Indians.
The LGT Top Scorer is awarded to a team’s highest scorer. At the end of the season, LGT then presents the award to the most successful top scorer of the entire season – for the second year in a row, this will be Ryan Lasch, who has also qualified for the Most Valuable Player title.
Hockey fans can now win two exclusive jerseys belonging to Ryan Lasch of the Frölunda Indians. Lasch wore the jerseys (one home and one away jersey) during the CHL games and has signed them. If you’re interested, please send an e-mail with subject FINALS to Tobias Francomano by 7 February 2020.