E.H.C. Alliance welcomes new member Kiekko-Espoo

E.H.C. Alliance welcomes new member Kiekko-Espoo

The Alliance of European Hockey Clubs is proud to announce Kiekko-Espoo from Finland as the latest addition to the Alliance, which today counts 107 clubs from 17 countries as members.

The addition of Kiekko-Espoo means that all Finnish Liiga clubs are members of the E.H.C. The Liiga will have 16 teams playing a 60-game schedule for the 2024-25 season.

“We are very excited to have Kiekko-Espoo as our latest member,” said E.H.C. Managing Director Szymon Szemberg. “It’s also very good for Finnish hockey that top-tier pro hockey is back in the city of Espoo.”

Kiekko-Espoo is the largest junior ice sports organization in Finland. Including boys’ and girls’ ice hockey and ringette, Kiekko-Espoo has a total of 3000 active players.

The predecessor, known as the Espoo Blues, went into bankruptcy following the 2015-16 season and there has been no top-league hockey since then in the city just east of Helsinki. Espoo (Esbo in Swedish) is actually the second-biggest city in Finland with just over 300,000 inhabitants.

There was an attempt to revive pro hockey in Espoo when Espoo United was founded shortly after the demise of the Blues but United went out of business in 2018. Kiekko-Espoo launched a men’s team prior to 2018-19 and started in the third-tier league before being admitted to the second-tier Mestis league in 2020-21.

After four successful seasons in the Mestis (champion in 2023), Kiekko-Espoo applied for a license in the top-tier Liiga and was finally admitted to join the Liiga for the 2024-2025 season. The team will play out of the 6982-capacity Espoo Metro Arena, which hosted the IIHF U18 World Championship this spring.

The Finnish Liiga announced this March that Kiekko-Espoo fulfilled the league’s admittance criteria in their application and that the team would be part of the top league for the upcoming season.

“This is a big happening for our club and for our junior program,” said club chairman Ami Rubinstein after the announcement. “We are very excited that we were able to pull this off. This means a lot to Kiekko-Espoo.”

The club’s GM Kim Hirschovits, who during his long career played for both Helsinki clubs IFK and Jokerit and also for the Espoo Blues, will represent Kiekko-Espoo at the E.H.C. European Hockey Awards and the Annual General Meeting in Prague on 11-12 June.

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