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No luck for Belfast Giants as they draw three powerhouses in Champions Hockey League


Belfast Giants will face fearsome teams in next season’s CHL

Belfast Giants will face fearsome teams in next season’s CHL

Belfast Giants will face fearsome teams in next season’s CHL

The Belfast Giants will take on Czech champions HC Oceláři Třinec, Sweden’s Skellefteå AIK and Switzerland’s HC Davos in the group stages of next season’s Champions Hockey League.

Adam Keefe’s Elite League champions discovered their group opponents at the draw in Tampere, Finland yesterday and they have been handed a brutal trio of elite European sides.

Top-seeded Oceláři Třinec have won the last three consecutive Czech Extraliga titles, while Skellefteå are one of the leading Swedish teams and Davos are world-renowned for hosting the Spengler Cup each season.

This is the second time the Giants have taken part in the CHL, with their last appearance in 2019 seeing them finish bottom of their group despite an opening win over Czech side Bili Tygri Liberec and impressive performances against Sweden’s Luleå Hockey and Germany’s Augsburger Panther.

The Giants do have history against one of their group rivals, having famously beaten Davos 4-2 in the Continental Cup back in 2003, however this will be the first time they have faced either Oceláři Třinec or Skellefteå.

This is the seventh time both the Czech and Swedish sides have competed in the CHL, while Davos have come up against Elite League opposition before when they faced the Cardiff Devils in 2017.

The exact fixture list will be released at a later date, with the first round of fixtures scheduled for September 1/2. Meanwhile, Belfast has submitted a bid to host the Division 1A World Championships next year and will find out if it has succeeded in the coming days.

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With Great Britain dropping into the second tier after being relegated from the World Championships on Monday, the SSE Arena could host their immediate attempt to bounce back next year from April 30 to May 6.

Belfast has history with the IIHF after hosting the Division 1B World Championships in 2017 and the Continental Cup semi-finals and final in 2018-19, both to acclaim, which will strongly enhance their bid.

The Belfast pitch will go up against one from Italy, the exact details of which have not yet been revealed, with the IIHF selecting the host city at their Annual Congress, which begins today and runs until Saturday.

GB are set to face fellow World Championship relegated side Italy, as well as Lithuania, South Korea and newly promoted Poland in Division 1A next year.

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