Next weekend sees the start of the 2015 European Women’s Champions Cup (EWCC), taking place across the continent.
Split over four different groups, sixteen teams – each of whom are winners in their own countries – will be fighting to be one of the seven that makes it through to the second round in December. The second round will see them grouped alongside some of the strongest women’s teams in Europe: SKIF Nizhni Novgorod, ESC Planegg, HC Lugano, Linkopings HC and Espoo Blues.
While last year’s overall winners, Moscow Tornado, have not qualified this year, Bracknell Queen Bees are heading back to the preliminaries for the second time in a row, having won the UK’s 2013/14 Women’s Premier League.
The new season has just started over here, with them already winning their first two games (12-1 and 5-0), and proving that they haven’t lost any of the skill that helped them come out on top last year. But they know that the EWCC is a whole other level of hockey. Last year’s preliminaries didn’t go as well as the Bees had hoped, with them losing 2 out of their 3 games (and totalling only 7 goals for with 21 against), but that won’t slow them down in the slightest.
This year, the Bees face SK Karvina, Unia Oswiecim and Sabres Vienna in their Group B preliminaries with the first game on Friday 17th October. If they can come top of their group, they will definitely be heading to the second round. Second position will depend on the final standings across all four groups, but still puts them in with a good chance of going through.
All six of the games are apparently streaming online: http://new.livestream.com/hpvideostudio. I’ll be following the games (as well as I can, my Czech is a little…. well, non-existent!) and reporting from the @UKWIHF twitter account.
Photo Credit: Bracknell Queen Bees Facebook Page