ZURICH – The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced the teams and groups for the 2010-2011 IIHF European Women’s Champions Cup.
Twenty teams from as many countries will participate in the event including 14 of Europe’s 15 top nations in women’s hockey.
The competition will be played according to the same format as last year. 16 teams play in four groups in Austria, Italy, Latvia and Turkey in the first stage, October 29-31.
The four winners advance to the two second-round groups, played from December 3 to 5, where SKIF Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), Slavia Prague (Czech Republic), Ilves Tampere (Finland) and OSC Berlin (Germany) are already pre-qualified following the results in last year’s EWCC.
Ilves Tampere and Slavia Prague will host the tournaments and the best two teams of each group advance to the final tournament that will be played February 25-27. The host of the final tournament will be determined at a later stage.
The event was won by Russian teams for two straight years. SKIF Nizhny Novgorod became the first Russian team to win the EWCC in 2009, ending a four-year reign by Sweden’s AIK Solna, while Tornado Moscow Region won the event in 2010.
This year SKIF claimed back the Russian title with 28 wins in 30 games to qualify for the European Women’s Champions Cup.
The 2010-2011 European Women’s Championship Cup will mark the first IIHF-sanctioned women’s event for Poland as Polonia Bytom will participate in the tournament in Latvia. 34 countries are currently ranked in the 2010 IIHF Women’s World Ranking and the number will grow to 37 nations next year.
2010-2011 IIHF European Women’s Champions Cup
First round, October 29 to 31, 2010:
Group A: HC Lugano (SUI), Bolzano Eagles (ITA, host), Slough Phantoms (GBR), Valladolid Panteras (ESP).
Group B: Aisulu Almaty (KAZ), Grenoble Brûleurs de Loups (FRA), Terme Maribor (SLO), Milenyum Ankara (TUR, host).
Group C: Vålerenga Oslo (NOR), Laima Riga (LAT, host), Herlev Hornets (DEN), Polonia Bytom (POL).
Group D: HC Spisska Nova Ves (SVK), Vienna Sabres (AUT, host), UTE-Marilyn Budapest (HUN), SC Miercurea Ciuc (ROU).
Second round, December 3 to 5, 2010:
Group E: SKIF Nizhny Novgorod (RUS), Slavia Prague (CZE, host), Winner Group A, Winner Group D.
Group F: Ilves Tampere (FIN, host), OSC Berlin (GER), Winner Group B, Winner Group C.
Final tournament, February 25 to 27, 2011:
Participants: the best two teams of each second-round group. Host to be determined.