Nottingham Panthers to use Champions Hockey League as ‘measuring stick’

Video: Defender Dan Spang on preparing for the Champions Hockey League

Nottingham Panthers have said they will use the Champions Hockey League as a ‘measuring stick’ to see where ice hockey in Britain compares to Europe.

The Panthers will play in the tournament next season after becoming the first British ice hockey team to win a European title by winning the Continental Cup in January.

The competition features 32 teams from all around Europe and the format of the competition has changed for next season.

In the group stage, eight groups of four will play each other home and away with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages.

Teams will then play each other home and away throughout the rest of the tournament in a knockout format and the team with the highest aggregate score progresses through each round with the exception of the final, which is a one-off game.

The tournament features a total of 125 games in its revised state.

The Panthers believe preparation will be critical in determining how well Nottingham performs.

Speaking on Sports Week, defender Dan Spang said: “The biggest key for us is when we get back on the ice and back in training we’ve got to all get on the same page and come together as a team.

“It’s a measuring stick for us – hockey in Britain has got bigger and better in the past few years and we want to be able to measure ourselves against some of the high powered teams known all over Europe.

“To get the chance to make some noise in the competition is exciting.

“If we do well, it would set us up well for the season beating some of the best teams in Europe and it would give us what we need to play well domestically as well.”

Forward Ollie Betteridge agrees that preparation will be key when it comes to doing well in the Champions Hockey League.

He said: “I feel like we can beat some of the big teams – we did it against Hamburg a couple of years ago.

“I feel like if we have the right preparation and all come together at the start of August then when we come to the Champions Hockey League to play our games, we have a good chance if we go there with a good mindset.”

For more from Dan and Ollie, watch the April 12 ice hockey Sports Week special on Notts TV at 7.30pm, or see our catch up service.