Five new E.H.C. teams this season

Five new E.H.C. teams this season

Since the start of the 2023/24 hockey season, the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs has welcomed five new members, bringing total membership to 107. The new members are:

  • Dynamo Pardubice (CZE)
  • Eisbären Regensburg (GER)
  • HC Kremenchuk (UKR)
  • Kárpáti Farkasok (HUN)
  • Kyiv Capitals (UKR)

Following is a short presentation of the five new members of the E.H.C. Alliance:

DYNAMO PARDUBICE: Hockey has a long and proud tradition in Eastern Bohemia, and the Pardubice club, formed in 1923, is now beginning its second century of play. In that time, the club has not only had considerable success on the ice – winning six national titles in the last 50 years – but has also developed numerous star players and is always among the best-attended teams in Europe. In terms of attendance, Pardubice ranked 10th on the continent in 2022/23 at over 9,000 fans per game and since the turn of the century, has always been either first or second among Czech teams – 15 years in a row in first.

Pardubice has retired the numbers of 16 players, which reads like a who’s who of Czech greats: Martin Čech, Jiří Dolana, Stanislav Prýl, Dominik Hašek, Jiří Šejba, Vladimír Martinec, Karel Mach, Bohuslav Šťastný, Vladimír Dvořáček, Jiří Novák, Milan Koďousek, Otakar Janecký and Petr Sýkora. Milan Hejduk and Aleš Hemský also started in Pardubice before becoming stars internationally.

EISBÄREN REGENSBURG: Founded in 1962, Regensburg has spent most of its history in the second and third tiers of German hockey. The club’s best period of sustained success came between 2001 and 2008, where it stayed in the second-highest league continuously for seven seasons – finishing third and reaching the semi-finals in 2004/05 – before finally being relegated for financial reasons. After starting again in the Bavarian regional league, the team began to climb again. Two seasons ago, Die Eisbären won the Oberliga, Germany’s third-highest national league, and advanced to DEL2, where they now compete.

Probably the most famous players ever to wear Regensburg colours, however briefly, were Czechoslovak national team winger Jiří Lála and Canadian NHL centre Jason Miller, who both played during the team’s heyday in the 2000s. The team’s current captain is Czech centre Nikola Gajovský, who has been there since 2015 and is the team’s all-time points leader.

HC KREMENCHUK: Despite being established in 2010, the Kremenchuk club has already established itself as one of the strongest in Ukraine, winning the national title in 2020 and reaching the finals on four other occasions. In fact, since 2014/15, Kremenchuk has not finished lower than third in the Ukrainian Hockey League standings. That domestic success has led to Continental Cup appearances in 2015 and 2022.

HC Kremenchuk’s current roster features many young players but also features a pair of 43-year-olds: defenceman Denys Isaienko and forward Artem Gnidenko. Both initially retired in 2017 but returned to action last season as the Ukrainian league restarted under difficult conditions. Isaienko and Gnidenko both played for the Ukrainian national team at four elite-level World Championships up until 2007 – the last time Ukraine has reached that level.

KÁRPÁTI FARKASOK: This is not your typical E.H.C. Alliance member. Founded in 2018 in the Budapest suburb of Érd, Kárpáti Farkasok (Carpathian Wolves) don’t have a senior men’s team and don’t compete for national championships in a professional league, although they hope to someday. What they do have are youth teams ranging from U8 to U18, and were the recipients of the 2023 Kånken Youth Retention Award.

From the club’s page at “Our main goal is to build up a club that works a bit differently than the others. Our focus is on recruiting, development and retention. Our long-term plan is to build up our club to the top level and compete on the international stage.”

KYIV CAPITALS: One of the E.H.C. Alliance’s newest clubs is, in fact, its newest club. In the midst of the ongoing war, the Kyiv Capitals began play in 2022/23 and won four of 30 regular-season games in the Ukrainian Hockey League. This season, the team has shown a dramatic improvement, winning nine of its first 13 contests and leading the standings as of the end of November.

From the club’s E.H.C. website page: “This hockey club aspires to hold a special place in the hearts of every individual residing in the capital of the world's bravest nation. Our objective is to establish a world-class organization that earns local adoration and global respect.”

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