The draw for the EHL Men KO16 has produced a series of top quality matches as the race to be the champion of the 12th season of the world’s best club hockey competition is laid out.
HC Oranje-Rood will host the event from April 17 to 22, 2019 in Eindhoven at their spectacular stadium, welcoming fans back to the venue of the 2017 KO16 where sold out crowds came to see a memorable tournament.
For this year’s draw, home heroes Joep de Mol and Pirmin Blaak were on hand to conduct the draw and they left themselves with a tough path to possible glory.
The Eindhoven club will meet Uhlenhorst Mulheim in the KO16 with a potential date for the winners against either Dinamo Kazan or Mannheimer HC.
At the top end of the draw, SV Kampong will face Rot-Weiss Köln for the fourth successive season and the fifth time in the last six seasons, marking this out as a serious one grudge match.
The winner of that will have a tough KO8 match on their agenda as they will face the winner of AH&BC Amsterdam and Scottish newcomers Grove Menzieshill.
The next segment of the KO16 draw sees Saint Germain and Club Egara renew rivalries. Most recently, the French side beat Egara in ROUND1 in 2017 6-4 to reach the KO16 in dramatic fashion.
Who wins that game will play either Spanish giants Real Club de Polo or Royal Leopold in the KO8.
Irish side Three Rock Rovers will come up against KHC Dragons for the second successive season. The two clubs met in a crossover match last season which ended in a 20-10 result for the Belgians – when the double field-goal rule was in place – but since then both sides have seen a number of changes to their line-up.
England’s Surbiton and Belgium’s Waterloo Ducks lie in wait in the KO8 as both clubs make a return to EHL action after three years away.
Speaking about the draw, HC Oranje-Rood’s de Mol said: “We are pretty happy with the draw, playing a good team and a really good match. It doesn’t really matter who you play in the KO16; you have to put in a strong performance to get through and there are 16 teams who are capable of winning their games.”
The way the draw panned out, there was a potential for Oranje-Rood to face Dutch rivals SV Kampong, something he is happy to avoid at this stage.
“I’m happy to avoid a Dutch side, no matter who it is. It doesn’t matter if its Kampong or Amsterdam or whoever because we love playing in the EHL against teams from other countries and see how they do things.
“I expect a big crowd whoever we play, playing at home. The last time in Eindhoven, it was a really nice event, a really big crowd and a lovely atmosphere and we will have the same again at Easter.”
The match schedule for the KO16 will be confirmed in the coming weeks in conjunction with the EHL’s stakeholders by early November. Tickets will also go on sale once the schedule is confirmed.