This Summer 4 European teams will travel across the waters to face Manchester Storm and Fife Flyers in what has been dubbed as a 4 Nations Showcase. I take a look at the first two teams to face the EIHL sides all the way from the Metal Ligaen of Denmark.
Manchester Storm and Fife Flyers teamed together to bring this showcase to fruition, bringing skilled European teams to these shores from the Danish Metal Ligaen and Germany’s DEL2 to provide top quality Summer hockey.
The Aalborg Pirates, having won their playoffs defeating league winners Herning Blue Fox in the 17/18 season, granting themselves a spot in this seasons elite European hockey tournament, the Championship Hockey League, will be the team to watch out of all 4 travelling members of the 4 nations showcase.
The Pirates first iced in 1967 under the name of AaB Ice Hockey and would go through some minor name changes due to merges and financial issues during the years but would not take on the name of the Aalborg Pirates until the 2012/13 season.
Winning 28 games out of 50 they racked up a total of 95 points, 15 points behind league champions Blue Fox. Throughout their 6 season history as the Pirates, they have only had 2 seasons where they placed 8th out of 10 teams, placing 3rd twice during the 12/13 and 13/14 season and were league champions in the 16/17 season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Julian Jakobsen, the 31 year old Danish centre led the team in points collecting up a total of 51. Icing in all 50 game he only produced 12 goals but more than made up for this in the goals he created earning himself 39 assists.
Mikkel Højbjerg the 25 year old Danish winger came 3rd in total points producing 19 goals, one less than Canadian winger Olivier Hinse who placed 2nd in overall points and had a hand in creating goals with 25 assists.
Odense Bulldogs were founded in 1978 as Odense IK and would cut their teeth in the lower danish division before making the jump to the top tier for the 91/92 season.
Though they have never won a league title during the Metal Ligaen era they placed first in the 05/06 season picking up the league title. Along with their accolades they have competed in the IIHF continental cup twice, first during the 03/04 season narrowly missing out on promotion to the second round and their previous run during the 16/17 season to which they made it to the final round but would end up placing third with Nottingham Panthers going on to win the the cup.
The Bulldogs placed 7th in the 17/18 season and were knocked out of the playoffs during the qualifying phase marking their worst year in six years.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Søren Nielsen, the 21 year old Danish centre placed second in overall points, collecting a total of 40 from a contribution of 18 goals and 22 assists.