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Champions Hockey League: Nottingham Panthers hope to continue European fairytale

Alex Mokshantsev celebrates scoring for Panthers in their Four-2 victory over fourth seeds Bern all over the group of workers ranges
Champions Hockey League ultimate 16
Venue: Hallenstadion, Zurich Date: Tuesday, 31 October Time: From 18:35 GMT
Coverage: Watch continue to exist the BBC Sport internet web internet web page, BBC Sport app and Connected TVs and pay attention to Radio 5 live sports activities actions movements actions additional and online.

Formed in 1946, Nottingham Panthers are the oldest ice hockey club in England and this week they take centre degree in Europe for the most important game in their 71-year history.

Ranked 32nd out of 32 teams all over the Champions Hockey League (CHL) – the ice hockey an an identical of football’s Champions League – Panthers defied the odds to win Group F and be triumphant within the knockout ranges of the competition.

They now face Swiss aspect ZSC Lions from Zurich in a two-legged last-16 tie, with the primary leg all over the 11,000-seater Hallenstadion in Switzerland on Tuesday. Think Maribor in opposition to Liverpool all over the Champions League, that’s the obligation that the Panthers face.

“It is one of sport’s fairytales,” discussed Panthers not strange manager Gary Moran. “Our value vary and the budgets of teams we’ve were given now now been collaborating in merely don’t read about. In some instances, one player earns more than our whole roster put together.

“It has been a run which has were given the entire of European ice hockey speaking and has been implausible no longer only for the membership, however the Elite League as an entire. People are actually sitting up and actually taking realize.”

To underline the variation in value vary, defenceman Kevin Klein left a multi-million dollar contract with NHL aspect New York Rangers to join Zurich in the summer. The Swiss aspect have a mini hurt crisis and solved it ultimate week by the use of signing forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has carried out 609 video video video video games all over the NHL and spent ultimate season with Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Most avid players all over the Elite League, where Panthers play locally, earn most straightforward reasonably a couple of pounds each and every week.

Nottingham Panthers ZSC Lions
CHL 2017-18 rating (out of 32) 32nd 10th
CHL all-time rating 40th 5th
CHL appearances 2 (2014-15 & 2017-18) Four (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 & 2017-18)
Previous highest possible CHL potency Group degree (2014-15) Quarter-finals (2016-17)

Nottingham used to be the primary UK team of workers to win a game all over the CHL after they beat Hamburg all over the group of workers ranges of the inaugural festival in 2014-15, on the other hand their journey to this season’s knockout ranges has been an element of myth.

Panthers won four of their six group of workers video video video video games, at the side of a Four-2 win over the improvement’s fourth seeds Bern and a 2-Zero shutout in opposition to Finnish aspect TPS Turku.

“Our performances within the CHL had been completely remarkable,” mentioned head trainer Corey Neilson. “We have a very good set of fellows they usually’re so focused.

“They know how much this means to the fans and it has been a pleasure to coach them. They don’t seem fazed by anything and that is important when playing the best teams in Europe.”

ZSC Lions in movement in opposition to NHL aspect Chicago Blackhawks in 2009

Panthers secured their place in this season’s CHL after they used to be the primary UK aspect to win a European trophy by the use of successful the second-tier Continental Cup in Italy far and wide once more in January.

But their Zurich-based warring parties had been one of the crucial essential crucial highest possible teams in Europe for years and have gave the impression in all four editions of the Champions Hockey League.

To put it into point of view, far and wide once more in 2009 ZSC Lions beat six-time Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 all over the Victoria Cup – a game which pitted the most productive team of workers in Europe in opposition to a facet from the NHL.

“We know we are up against it once again,” added Neilson. “But we don’t mind that one little bit. It has been fantastic journey so far and everyone connected with the club wants to keep it going.”

The second leg will also be streamed continue to exist the BBC Sport internet web internet web page, BBC Sport app and Connected TVs on Tuesday, 7 November.

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