With the conclusion of both the Euro Hockey Tour and Euro Hockey Challenge, as the season ends to ring in the start of the 2017 World Championships in Paris and Cologne, the winners of both the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour and 12-nation Euro Hockey Challenge have been crowned for the 2016-17 season.
After three seasons, Russia has recaptured the Euro Hockey Tour title for the seventh time in Tour history, locking up the title all the way back in February with a clean sweep of both the Karjala Tournament and Sweden Hockey Games, putting the title out of reach for the rest of the field of Sweden, Finland and Czechia. Russia finishes, following this month’s Carlson Hockey Games, with 27 points, 8 ahead of second-place Czechia, giving them good momentum to start Group A in Cologne.
As for the Euro Hockey Challenge, covering all European teams in the World Championships (save for the promoted Division IA teams, Italy and Slovenia), Switzerland becomes the first non-Euro Hockey Tour nation since the tournament’s inception in 2011 to win the Challenge. Switzerland finished with a 6-2 record, falling only once to France and Denmark, and sweeping both Russia and Slovakia, to finish with 19 points, ahead of Finland and Czechia, to take first place.
The Eisgenossen finish the Challenge with the IHLC in hand as well, ensuring that the title will start at the Worlds in Group B in Paris. They have just one more tune-up match, against Canada on 2 May, before starting the tournament 6 May versus Slovenia; their momentum will need to serve them well facing the two-time defending world champs en route to France. Our congratulations to these two great hockey nations on these tremendous achievements!