Cardiff Devils have been drawn against title holders Frolunda Gothenburg from Sweden in the Champions Hockey League.
Head coach Andrew Lord and his Devils are marching into Europe for a third successive season and their group includes Layne Ulmer’s former club Graz99ers (Austria) and Mountfield Hradec Kralove (Czech).
Both Lord and Devils managing director Todd Kelman attended the draw.
— Down The Bay (@DTBDowntheBay) May 22, 2019
Frolunda were the last team drawn, joining Devils in group H.
Elite League champions Belfast Giants are in group C with Lulea Hockey (Sweden), Bili Tygri Liberec (Czech) and Augsburger Panther (Germany).
There were 32 teams from 13 countries in the draw, which was made in Slovakia as World championship quarter-finalists prepared for their matches.
The last eight draw at the Worlds is Canada v Switzerland (Steel Arena, Kosice, 3.15pm local time), Russia v USA (Ondrej Napela Arena, 3.15pm UK time), Finland v Sweden (Steel Arena, 7.15pm UK time), Czech v Germany (Ondrej Napela Arena, 3.15pm UK time)
All games being played Thursday.
The CHL is being played for a sixth season since being reintroduced in 2014.
“It’s a great product and it’s getting better every year,” said Peter Zahner, chairman of CHL.
“The best players in Europe want to play the best players and the best coaches want to coach against the best coaches.”
“We have 10 new teams in the upcoming season,” said Martin Baumann, chief executive of CHL.
“It will be a great experience to travel and meet other organizations. It’s the best that could happen for them. We already travelled to some of these teams and they are very committed.”
The draw was presented by former Canadian women’s national team player Tessa Bonhomme, a broadcaster at the World Championship, with former Slovak biathlon Olympic champion Anastasiya Kuzmina, Lahti Pelicans head coach Ville Nieminen, Zahner and Baumann drawing the teams from four pots into the groups eight groups.
🤩 So who’s ready for trips to 🇸🇪🇨🇿🇦🇹?
🇸🇪 Gothenburg is the home of @frolunda_hc
🇦🇹 @graz99ers are from Graz in Austria – the second largest city in the country
🇨🇿 and in the Czech Republic we are going to Hradec Králové to play @MountfieldHK #DevilsEuropeanAdventure pic.twitter.com/CRrjBnLxzk
— Cardiff Devils (@cardiffdevils) May 22, 2019
The teams were put into four different pots according to their performance back home in the last season and the level of their league.
Switzerland joined Sweden for the first time to have the five best teams of the country qualified. The Finnish and Czech leagues have four representatives, the other founding leagues, Germany and Austria, three.
From the ‘challenger leagues’ there are the champions from Belarus, Norway, Slovakia, France, Denmark, Great Britain and Poland.
Belfast Giants are qualified through the Continental Cup, where the groups will be drawn in late June.
Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League teams do not participate in the Champions Hockey League.
The season will start on August 29 with the top-two teams from each group advancing to the play-off stage.
Champions Hockey League 2019/2020
|KAC Klagenfurt (AUT)|
|Tappara Tampere (FIN)|
|EHC Biel (SUI)|
|Frisk Asker (NOR)|
|HPK Hameenlinna (FIN)|
|EV Zug (SUI)|
|HC Plzen (CZE)|
|Lulea Hockey (SWE)|
|Bili Tygri Liberec (CZE)|
|Augsburger Panther (GER)
Belfast Giants (GBR)
|Ocelari Trinec (CZE)|
|Lausanne HC (SUI)|
|Lahti Pelicans (FIN)|
|Yunost Minsk (BLR)|
|Addler Mannheim (GER)|
|Djurgarden Stockholm (SWE)
|Adler Mannheim (GER)|
|Djurgarden Stockholm (SWE)|
|Vienna Capitals (AUT)|
|GKS Tychy (POL)|
|Farjestad Karlstad (SWE)|
|Red Bull Munich (GER)|
|HC Ambri-Piotta (SUI)|
|HC 05 Banska Bystrica (SVK)|
|Frolunda Gothenburg (SWE)|
|Graz 99ers (AUT)|
|Mountfield Hradec Kralove (CZE)|
|Cardiff Devils (GBR)|