Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants take on Czechs in debut Champions League campaign

The Belfast Giants with the Challenge Cup trophy they won last season
The Belfast Giants with the Challenge Cup trophy they won last season
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

The Belfast Giants will welcome Czech side Bili Tygri Liberec to the SSE Arena for their first ever Champions Hockey League game at the end of August.

The Extraliga runners-up, nicknamed the White Tigers, will be the opponents in Belfast for the opening game of the competition on Thursday, August 29.

The Giants, who are making their debuts in the competition after qualifying through the Continental Cup, and then again by winning the Elite League, open with an August double-header at home.

Just two days after Liberec come to Belfast, on Saturday, August 31, the Giants will host German DEL side Augsburger Panther at the SSE Arena.

That's followed by the away legs of their Group C ties against the two sides in the first week of September, with the Giants playing on the continent for the first time in the season.

First is a trip to the Home Credit Arena to face Bili Tygri Liberec on Thursday, September 5, before the Giants make the trip to Augsburg on Sunday, September 8 to take on the Panthers.

The competition takes a month-long break, in which the Giants will get their Elite League and Challenge Cup campaigns underway, before it resumes in October.

Those final two games will be toughest for Adam Keefe's side as they face a daunting double-header against Swedish giants Lulea Hockey to conclude their campaign.

The home tie at the SSE Arena is first up on Tuesday, October 8, with the Elite League champions concluding their group campaign at the Coop Noorbotten Arena in Lulea a week later on Tuesday, October 15.

Belfast are not expected to progress from what is a very tough group on paper, however a strong start to their campaign at home could give them momentum going forward.

Meanwhile, former Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany did not get the move to the German DEL that he wanted, but is instead believed to be joining a team in the Slovakian Extraliga.

Elsewhere, Jim Vandermeer has ended his playing career and is believed to be interested in moving into coaching, while it is likely defenceman Kendall McFaull will not return to Belfast next season either.

Belfast Giants CHL schedule

Thursday, August 29; 19:30: vs Bili Tygri Liberec

Saturday, August 31; 19:30: v Augsburger Panther

Thursday, September 5; 18:45: @ Bili Tygri Liberec

Sunday, September 8; 16:00: @ Augsburger Panther

Tuesday, October 8; 19:30: v Lulea Hockey

Tuesday, October 15; 17:00: @ Lulea Hockey

All face-offs are in Belfast time

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