With the conclusion of both the Euro Hockey Tour and Euro Hockey Challenge as the season winds down leading up to the World Championships in Czechia, the winners of both the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour and 12-nation Euro Hockey Challenge have been crowned for the 2014-15 season.
Winning their first Euro Hockey Tour title since 2007 (and just third since the Tour began in 1997), Tre Kronor captured the title by winning their final three games of the tour to finish with 33 points, despite playing one less game due to an ice surface issue in a game versus Finland in February. Combining points from the Karjala Tournament, Channel One Cup and the 12-game Tour in February and April, Sweden finishes five points ahead of Russia to be this year’s victors.
As for the Euro Hockey Challenge, which expands the fields to twelve teams playing four series’ of two-leg games (including the February and April Tour games), the Czechs won their first title since 2012, winning seven of eight games and sweeping their two-game series against Norway, Slovakia and Finland. Only Sweden was able to defeat the Czechs on their hot streak as they march on to home ice for the World Championships.
It is only natural then that not only these two teams are the last two to hold the IHLC, with the Czech’s lone loss in the Euro Hockey Challenge being the last IHLC title change, but that these two will meet in the opening game of the Worlds on 01 May in Prague. It should be interesting to see where this momentum carries these squads for the finale of the international hockey season!
Photo Credit: Aftonbladet – CSLH – IIHF – HHOF – IOC