Lions look to roar in Europe

Can the Lions hold onto their European trophy? Keystone Archive

The Zurich Lions ice hockey club will be bidding to stretch an impressive run of title victories this weekend when they host the finals of Europe's Continental Cup tournament.

This content was published on January 10, 2002 - 18:57

Although currently struggling in seventh place in the domestic league, the Lions are looking to win the European competition for the second year in succession and thereby clinch their fourth title in a row.

"We are definitely doing alright when it comes to titles," sporting director Simon Schenk pointed out on Thursday. "Swiss Champions 2000, Continental Cup winners 2001, Swiss Champions again in 2001... now we'll settle for another Continental Cup win and then the league title once more!"

Finnish start

Saturday's semi-final opponents Jukurit Mikkeli of Finland will be the first team attempting to stop the Lions reaching their European goal. If Pekka Rautakallio's men can book a place in Sunday's final, they will then take on either the Slovakian champions from Zvolen or the Italian champions Milan.

Zvolen are widely considered to be the strongest side at this weekend's tournament with several internationals in the team. Milan have also shown that they should not be underestimated, having dumped Swiss top division side Lugano out of the competition during the semifinal stage.

The Zurich Lions will be particularly keen to lift the Continental Cup this year, since the competition is expected to increase in difficulty next season. The International Ice Hockey Federation is keen to change the format of the event in an attempt to attract more teams from among the stronger ice hockey nations.

swissinfo with agencies

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