Znojmo Eagles Striving for Return to International ICEHL Competition after Relegation

Znojmo Eagles Striving for Return to International ICEHL Competition after Relegation

updated 4/3/2024

Lubomír Budný

sports editor

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After the hockey Eagles fell back to the second league after one season in the Czech Chance League, their management supports a return to the international ICEHL competition. The club informed about it on its website.

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Bolzano, Vienna, Linz? The Znojmo hockey Eagles could play not only with these opponents again from next season after they fell back to the third highest competition after one year in the Chance League. | Photo: Deník/Lubomír Budný

An investment group led by Hynk Blaha and former hockey player Radim Antonovic is striving for a way back to our southern neighbors. She is in close contact with the management of the Eagles, and negotiations are underway on possible changes in the ownership structure of the club. If all participants come to an agreement, the South Moravians could play in an international competition from the following season 2024/2025. “The success of this effort will depend, among other things, on mutual negotiations with the management of the competition and the fulfillment of a number of strict access criteria,” Orli said in declaration.

At the same time, it states that the fans in the second largest city of the South Moravian Region will not lose hockey. The team would continue in the domestic second league from August, with the intention of returning to the ICEHL in the next competition year.

The relegation of the hockey Eagles may not be final yet. There is also a possibility of buying a license

The Eagles have long-term experience with international competition. They tasted it for the first time between 2011 and 2020. They experienced their best season in 2015/2016, when they won the title of vice-champion of the then EBEL. After a short hiatus, when the Znojmo tried out the Czech second league due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus, whose 2020/2021 season was canceled precisely because of the pandemic, they took a second look beyond the borders into the current ICE Hockey League in the 2021/2022 season. Here they finished in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

This was followed by ambitious plans to reach the Czech extra league within a few years, when the Eagles were helped by sovereign control of the second league in the 2022/2023 season and promotion to the Chance League. However, this is where coach Václav Baďouček’s wards came across last year. Out of fifty-two matches, they managed to win only sixteen duels and together gained fifty-seven points for the whole season. This was not enough to stay in the first league, and for the first time in the modern history of the Eagles, a sporting relegation to the second league followed.

PICTURE: Znojmo hockey team lost to Litoměřice in the Chance League farewell

After the season, fans were nervous if hockey in Znojmo would survive at all. They were given hope by the city council, which only approved the same subsidy as last year at its special meeting after the regular part of the Chance League was over and clearly declared that it would continue to support hockey.

In addition to other scenarios such as the purchase of the license of a club from the first league, or again the second league, there was speculation about a possible return to Austria. The Eagles’ announcement of negotiations for a new owner and efforts to return to the ICEHL is a clear sign that the ice has moved.

The Eagles’ hope of staying in the Chance League lives on. They defeated Vsetín

New applicant Radim Antonovič played hockey in the past, for example, for Prostějov, Šumperk or Polish Sosnowiec. He currently works as a partner and business director in the Finom Group investment firm. According to information from the commercial register, his partner Hynek Blaha owns the company HB Production, which deals with the preparation and implementation of sports, cultural and social events. In addition, Blaha is in charge of the Sports Academy of Znojemska interest association, which organizes the amateur Znojem hockey league.

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