The Belfast Giants face travel to the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland when the fate of the Champions League was discovered
The Belfast Giants will take on Czech champions HC Oceláři Třinec, Swedish Skellefteå AIK and Swiss heavyweights HC Davos in the group stage of next season’s Champions Hockey League (CHL).
Dam Keefe’s Elite League champions discovered their group stage opponents in the draw in Tampere, Finland and they have been awarded a brutal trio of opponents.
Top-seeded Oceláři Třinec has won the last three Czech extra league titles in a row, while Skellefteå is one of the leading Swedish teams and Davos is world-renowned for hosting the Spengler Cup every season.
Of course, the Giants will never say die, but they have got a group that will not give them any easy matches, even at the SSE Arena where they beat Bili Tygri Liberec and pushed the Augsburger Panther all the way three years ago. their only other appearance in the CHL.
The 2019-20 season ended the Giants bottom of their group as they only won one of their six group games against Luleå Hockey, Liberec and Augsburg.
The Giants have a history against one of the teams, after defeating Davos 4-2 in the Continental Cup back in 2003, but this will be the first time they face either Oceláři Třinec or Skellefteå.
This is the seventh time both Czechs and Swedes compete in the CHL, while Davos has faced Elite League opposition before when they faced the Cardiff Devils 2017.
All three sides boast a wealth of international talent, with Skellefteå defender Jonathan Pudas as a long-time Swedish star, while Davos is led by the Swiss legend Andres Ambühl, who both compete in the ongoing World Cup.
The schedule will be released at a late date, with the first round of matches on 1/2 September.