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05 February 2015, 16:05

HC Neman Grodno to play in 2015-16 CHL season

MINSK, 5 February (BelTA) – The Champions Hockey League (CHL) approved the application of HC Neman Grodno, Belarus' champion and Continental Cup winner, to play in its 2015-16 season, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation (BICF).

“Representatives of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation met with CHL CEO Martin Baumann and representatives of the CHL's commercial partner Infront Bruno Marty and Christoph Mauer following the CHL final game on 3 February. The CHL CEO informed the Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation on the league's decision to approve the application of HC Heman Grodno on the participation in the tournament next season. The CHL Board asked a number of questions related to the organization of games in Belarus. The Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation will guarantee the execution of the CHL regulations,” the BICF press service said adding that the Belarusian team would host CHL games at the arena in Grodno.

Another key issue discussed at the meeting was Belarus' permanent representation in the Champions Hockey League. “Unfortunately, there has not been envisaged an additional place for the Belarusian champion in the 2015-16 season, since all the participants of Group C from the league's newcomers have been defined. The discussions, however, resulted in preliminary agreements to draw an agreement on cooperation between the CHL and the BIHF to make the Belarusian champion is a regular participant of the tournament. This decision was fully supported by the CHL's commercial partner Infront,” the BIHF press service said.

The Belarusian club Neman Grodno won three straight games against French, German and Kazakh opponents to claim the 2014–15 IIHF Continental Cup. The Champions Hockey League congratulated Neman Grodno on the success, and requested logistical information about the club, such as arena availability and capacity and transportation. The final decision regarding Neman's 2015-16 CHL participation was taken by the CHL Board on 2 February.

The 2014-2015 Champions Hockey League season completed on 3 February with Swedish Lulea Hockey raising the European trophy after defeating Frolunda Gothenburg 4-2 in the final. A total of 44 teams from 11 countries competed this season. Among them were 26 founding teams granted an “A license”, two teams from each the founding leagues (B license), and six wildcard teams (C license).

The teams play a round-robin stage, with 16 best advancing to the play-off.

The CHL website informs that in the 2015-16 season the Champions Hockey League will expand the group stage to 48 teams, divided into 16 groups with three teams in each. Two best teams from each group will secure a play-off spot.

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