An exciting new competition is coming to junior hockey in Europe - and it's about to get started!
The Bauer Elite Cup will see top junior teams from Austria, Hungary and Slovakia go head to head with each other at U16 and U18 level across the 2022/23 season, culminating with final tournaments to crown Elite Cup champions in each age group. Action begins this weekend in Nitra and Košice.
In U16 hockey, teams will compete in a series of two-day tournaments across the season; while at U18 level, teams will compete in two groups of six for progression to the season-ending final event.
"The Bauer Elite Cup was born because junior clubs wanted to have more games against quality opposition from abroad, in addition to their own domestic leagues," explained organiser Rastislav Staňa. "We're delighted to have had such a positive takeup so far and are excited to start our inaugural season.
"We know how important it is to give junior players as much ice time and as many competitive games as possible, and adding an international element to their schedule really makes for an exciting season!"
Teams themselves are also excited to get going. “Our Academy’s top priority is to provide our players high-intensity, high-quality games, which truly help their development. We want to challenge them, and this is why the Elite Cup is a great possibility for us,” said Csaba Kovács of Fehervar Hockey Academy 19 in Hungary, who play in Nitra on 20 August. “We believe that playing against dominant development teams from this region will give us the chance to improve ourselves.”
HC Košice begin games this weekend against DVTK and Budapest. "It is definitely a big challenge for us to be able to compete with foreign teams. It was the Austrian and Hungarian sides that came with this idea and we are glad to be part of it," said Alexander Valentin. "It's a huge motivation for our players that they can get a taste of international games and to take on different styles of hockey than we're used to in Slovakia."
You can follow the competition on its official website and Instagram pages.
The competing clubs are: Barani hokejová škola Michala Handzuša (Banská Bystrica), Budapest Jégkorong Akadémia, DVTK Jegesmedvék Academy, EC-KAC, EC Red Bull Salzburg, Eishockey Akademie Steiermark, FEHA 19, HC Košice, HKM Zvolen, HK Nitra, Spišská Nová Ves, Újpest Ice Hockey Academy & Vienna Capitals.
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