|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 page, BBC Sport app and Connected TVs and listen on Radio 5 reside sports activities actions additional and online.|
Formed in 1946, Nottingham Panthers are the oldest ice hockey club in England and this week they take centre level in Europe for the biggest game in their 71-year history.
Ranked 32nd out of 32 teams inside the Champions Hockey League (CHL) – the ice hockey an identical of football’s Champions League – Panthers defied the odds to win Group F and reach the knockout ranges of the competition.
They now face Swiss aspect ZSC Lions from Zurich in a two-legged last-16 tie, with the principle leg inside the 11,000-seater Hallenstadion in Switzerland on Tuesday. Think Maribor in opposition to Liverpool inside the Champions League, that’s the accountability that the Panthers face.
“It is one of sport’s fairytales,” said Panthers not unusual manager Gary Moran. “Our value vary and the budgets of teams we have now now been taking part in merely don’t read about. In some circumstances, one player earns more than our complete 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 adaptation in value vary, defenceman Kevin Klein left a multi-million buck 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 games inside the NHL and spent ultimate season with Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Most players inside the Elite League, where Panthers play locally, earn simplest plenty of pounds each and every week.
|Nottingham Panthers||ZSC Lions|
|CHL 2017-18 ranking (out of 32)||32nd||10th|
|CHL all-time ranking||40th||5th|
|CHL appearances||2 (2014-15 & 2017-18)||Four (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 & 2017-18)|
|Previous perfect imaginable CHL potency||Group level (2014-15)||Quarter-finals (2016-17)|
Nottingham was the principle UK crew to win a game inside the CHL when they beat Hamburg inside the workforce ranges of the inaugural festival in 2014-15, then again their journey to this season’s knockout ranges has been an element of myth.
Panthers won four of their six workforce video video games, at the side of a Four-2 win over the development’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 and so they’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.”
Panthers secured their place in this season’s CHL when they was the principle UK aspect to win a European trophy by the use of winning the second-tier Continental Cup in Italy once more in January.
But their Zurich-based combatants have been one of the crucial perfect imaginable 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, once more in 2009 ZSC Lions beat six-time Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 inside the Victoria Cup – a game which pitted the most productive crew in Europe in opposition to an aspect 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 can also be streamed continue to exist the BBC Sport internet web page, BBC Sport app and Connected TVs on Tuesday, 7 November.