M1 Take On KHC Dragons In EHL On Sat.
By Colin Pike
Surbiton Men return to European competition when they meet hosts, KHC Dragons in the EHL Ranking Cup KO16 in Brasschaat, Belgium at 1515 BST on Saturday.
Having won their first two Men's Hockey League Premier Division matches, 6-4 at home to Holcombe and 5-2 at Oxted, Surbiton face a different challenge in the Euro Hockey League.
Due to Covid-19, Surbiton's hopes of competing in the EHL Final 8 tournament in Amsterdam in October 2020 were dashed when the tournament was cancelled.
In 2018-19, Surbiton had the disappointment of losing at the KO16 stage to Waterloo Ducks, 4-2 in a shootout after drawing 1-1 in Eindhoven, especially as Waterloo Ducks went on to win the tournament.
Waterloo Ducks beat Rot-Weiss Koln 4-0 in the final and it is the German club who Surbiton will face in KO8 if they get past KHC Dragons.
In 2019-20, Surbiton beat Real Club de Polo 5-2 and Dinamo Kazan 4-1 in Barcelona in the initial KO16 and KO8 stage which was supposed to lead to the FINAL8 tournament in Amsterdam, but in spite of delaying the tournament until October 2020, the tournament was cancelled.
The 2021 Ranking Cup follows on from the 2020-21 Euro Hockey League Final4 which was held in Amsterdam last April to decide the top four ranked teams overall. Bloemendaal beat Atletic Terrassa 5-2 in the final.
The Ranking Cup will decide which teams finish from 5th to 20th and help to finalise the EHL Ranking Tables, which are used to decide how many places each country gets in European competition.
The Ranking Tables will then indicate how many places each country will get in the 2021-22 competition.
Dinamo Kazan are now known as Dinamo-Ak-Bars and forfeited their KO16 match against Rot-Weiss Koln because they were not able to travel to Belgium following a number of positive Covid-19 cases.
This means that if Surbiton lose to KHC Dragons, they will not play a second ranking game, and as a result of Dinamo's withdrawal, they will be deemed to have won the second game.
If Surbiton win both games, they will finish joint 5th. If they beat KHC Dragons but lose to Rot-Weiss Koln, they will finish joint 9th. If they lose to KHC Dragons, they will finish joint 13th.
All EHL Ranking Cup matches can be live streamed via eurohockeytv.org.