Go on a European tour with the Blaze
This weekend we’re taking you on a European tour with the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze by premiering in full two classic Continental Cup games.
The Blaze have participated in the IIHF Continental Cup five times and over the weekend we’ll be rewinding back to tournaments in 2007 and 2015.
2007 (Aalborg, Denmark) vs. Red Bull Salzburg
Paul Thompson’s double-winning Blaze team of 2006/07 (who defeated the Newcastle Vipers in the dramatic Playoff game recently shown on Blaze TV) were overall kept together for the 2007/08 season and Continental Cup campaign. The core of returning players included Trevor Koenig, Neal Martin, Adam Calder, Dan Carlson, Barrie Moore, Danny Stewart et al.
The departure of Captain Ashley Tait to the Sheffield Steelers came as a shock mid-summer, but Thompson moved quickly to negate the loss by snapping up fellow Great Britain international Jonathan Weaver from the Newcastle Vipers.
Another surprise came when Matty Soderstrom was brought back to the club from the EPIHL’s Telford Tigers whilst the addition of sharp-shooter Curtis Huppe from the Belfast Giants was met with much excitement by the Blaze faithful.
Although unknown at the time of the Continental Cup which took place in October, the Blaze were to do another double, becoming the first team to win the Elite League Championship back-to-back and lift the knock-out cup.
Along with the hosts, Coventry were also grouped with HK Slavija Ljubjana from Slovenia and European powerhouses EC Red Bull Salzburg.
Aalborg were to eventually progress to the second group stage, but the highlight of the tournament came as the Blaze took on Salzburg in their second game of the tournament.
The multi-million spending favourites had begun the group stage with an 8-0 demolishment of Ljubjana whilst the Blaze had disappointingly been shut out 3-0 by their future netminder Peter Hirsh and his Aalborg teammates.
2015 (Tychy, Poland) vs. GKS Tychy
After sensationally winning the 2015 Elite League Playoffs, Chuck Weber returned to the Blaze to build his own team to take to the Continental Cup of 2015.
Surprisingly for many, and something that the American speaks about in our recent catch-up with him (HERE), few of the playoff winning team returned.
This was in part due to retirement for the likes of Ryan O’Marra, Mike Egener and Steve Goertzen, whilst the Craig Cescon’s, Jereme Tendler’s etc. were moved on as Weber aimed to improve on the previous season’s 6th placed league finish.
Proven Elite League point producers Carl Lauzon, Ned Lukacevic and Neil Trimm, plus 60 assist ECHL winger Drew Fisher came in alongside former Kelly Cup Champion with Weber in Cincinnati, Brett Robinson. Jordan Pietrus, who was later to become club Captain joined ahead of the trip to Poland where the year previous he had led the league for goals and points as part of KH Sanok.
On defence, another former Kelly Cup Champion and holder of the ECHL’s hardest shot Josh Godfrey was employed to bring some threat to the powerplay whilst grit was added to the back-end in the form of Kevin Noble and former NHL tough-guy Boris Valabik.
With hosts Tychy, Weber’s Blaze were joined in the group by Partizan Belgrade of Serbia and Dunarea Gulati from Romania.
Over the first two days of the competition, both Blaze and Tychy blew away the Serbs and Romanian’s to set up a winner takes all final group game to qualify for the next round of the tournament.
The Blaze will hold an online 50/50 raffle this weekend and give you the chance to win a #30 C.J. Motte signed away jersey and game-used stick.
Both raffles end Sunday @ 7.30pm. Find out more and get involved: