The nomination comes for the second year running, in recognition of the Giants’ treble-winning year and “dominance in the Elite Ice Hockey League” by winning Challenge Cup, league, and playoff silverware within one domestic season – a first in the club’s history. Other nominees in the club of the year Category include, Genève-Servette (Switzerland), Oceláři Třinec (Czech Republic), Växjö Lakers (Sweden), and Tappara Tampere (Finland).
The Alliance of European Hockey Clubs was founded on 13 June 2016 at the EHC’s first annual general meeting, by 70 clubs across 13 European countries.
Ice hockey thus became the third major European team sport, after football’s European Club Association (ECA) and Forum Club Handball (FCH), to establish a club alliance with the mandate to look after and promote the interests of the professional hockey clubs and represent them internationally. The EHC currently has 96 member clubs from 15 European countries.
Alongside the club of the year category, other awards up for the taking include young player of the year, coach of the year and the Warrior Career Excellence Award. The awards will be formally presented to category winners on Tuesday 13 June at the Annual EHC awards dinner in Prague, Czech Republic.
Steve Thornton, group head of commercial and hockey at The Odyssey Trust, said: “The nomination for club of the year at this year’s Fenix Outdoor Euro Hockey Awards comes after an incredible season for the Stena Line Belfast Giants, that saw the team achieve the treble and marking a historic season for our organisation.
“A nomination like this is a true testament to the collective efforts of our players, the coaching team, and all off ice staff – highlighting the unyielding dedication of the entire organisation in fostering a winning culture and creating unforgettable memories and experiences for our fans.
“To be named in this prestigious category alongside European ice hockey powerhouses is an honour and a privilege.”
Public voting for award categories – supplementary to the EHC expert panel - is officially open. Belfast Giants fans can cast their votes for their team at www.eurohockeyclubs.com.
Awards and nominations are as follows:
Young player of the year – Presented by Fjällräven
Leo Carlsson (Örebro Hockey, Sweden) – Led SHL in assists (15) and points (25) for U20 player
Leevi Meriläinen (Kärpät Oulu, Finland) – Fifth best Sv% (.918) and GAA (2.02) in Liiga and two NHL (National Hockey League) games
Aku Räty (Ilves Tampere, Finland) – 42pts (11th in Liiga) nearly doubled previous season
David Reinbacher (EHC Kloten, Switzerland) – 22pts 2nd among NL jr players, tied 20th among D-men at 17
William Wallinder (Rögle BK, Sweden) – Led Rögle and tenth in SHL TOI, 13th in D pts with 26
Coach of the year - presented by Globetrotter
Jan Cadieux (Genève-Servette, Switzerland) – In first full season behind GSHC bench won club’s first ever title
Jörgen Jönsson (Växjö Lakers, Sweden) – Team back on top under new coach, won league and playoffs
Tommi Niemelä (Pelicans Lahti, Finland) – Steady progress in three seasons, this year Lahti’s second ever final
Jussi Tapola (Tappara Tampere, Finland) – Back-to-back Finnish doubles, this year CHL (Champions Hockey League) title added
Antti Törmänen (EHC Biel-Bienne, Switzerland) – Led team to second place and finals despite cancer treatment
Club of the year - presented by Hanwag
Belfast Giants (Great Britain) – dominated EIHL (Elite Ice Hockey League) by winning league, playoffs, Challenge Cup in one season
Genève-Servette (Switzerland) – first title in club’s 118-year history, first regular season title in 56 years Oceláři Třinec (Czech Republic) – four straight Czech titles, five straight finals, heart and soul of a town of 34,000Växjö Lakers (Sweden) – Four titles (including three doubles) in last eight years for club only founded in 1997
Tappara Tampere (Finland) – 11 seasons no worse than fourth, four titles, this year’s CHL win makes “treble”
Warrior Career Excellence Award
The Warrior Career Excellence Award is annually presented to the player who during his or her career has best exemplified the qualities of sportsmanship and dedication combined with community service and high standard of playing ability.
Červenka (R-Jona Lakers, Switzerland) – Second straight NL scoring title for 37-year-old Czech captain
Valtteri Filppula (Genève-Servette, Switzerland) – Triple Gold Club, this year added GSHC’s first ever title
Joakim Lindström (Skellefteå AIK, Sweden) – SHL top scorer in 2010s, still a force at 39, cult figure
Tomáš Plekanec (Rytíři Kladno, Czech Republic) – Captain of maternal club, at 40 still a top 2-way centre
Patrick Reimer (Nürnberg, Germany) – DEL’s all-time goals and points leader, 3x MVP, Olympic silver