In 2017, the FIR Champion’s League was shaken from its traditional format and rebooted in the form of a franchise based team tournament, spread over two regular world tour events. 8 new franchises, representing places synonymous with Racketlon from the locations of popular tournaments (such as King of Rackets or the Malta Open) to the core cities of London, Austria and Copenhagen, who have hosted World and European Championships. It is fair to say the 2017 Champion’s League was a roaring success, from the live draft on Facebook through to the close competition over the two weekends which saw no franchise go unbeaten, however iPro London captained by Duncan Stahl won the whole event. Crucially, all the players involved enjoyed the experience and the camaraderie that formed between teammates.
2017 winners iPro London, but who will take home the crown in 2018? (Photo: racketlon.net)
In 2018, the Champion’s League returns, with new captains, new franchises and an additional second division. But what does this mean for the event and for you the reader?
New Divisions, New Opportunities
Firstly, the addition of a second division means that more players will be required, therefore in 2018, the Champion’s League will include players from more countries and representing more Racketlon abilities than ever before. An event, that for a decade has been focussed primarily on the Elite players, will in 2018 include the players from the B and C grades, and see them get the chance to represent franchises from across the Racketlon world. However, for the event to expand and include those players, it needs them to enter and for you to throw your name into the hat for the Live Draft (see below)
Something’s Stay the Same
Change is always good, but not at the expense of losing the baby with the bathwater. Our main franchises (and their captains) return with iPro London (Duncan Stahl), KoR Oudenaarde (Lieselot de Bleeckere), Three Percent Malta Magic (Kresten Hougaard), Klosterneuburg Racketlonshop Austria (Lukas Windischberger), Berlin Berghain Boasters (Amke Fischer) and Copenhagen (Morten Jaksland). The Swiss Army Knives return as well with a new captain, Benny Hampl and a modified name (Swiss Eagles), while the Helsinki Hawks are replaced by a new Scandinavian team, the Swedish Vikings captained by Anna-Klara Ahlmer. However, not all of these teams will stay the same, captains may only retain two players from their 2017 squad, the rest must return to the player pool, open to be selected by another franchise!
It has also been confirmed that iPro London, KoR Oudenaarde, Three Percent Malta Magic, Swiss Eagles, Swedish Vikings and Berlin Berghain Boasters will have representation in the second division with Johnny Bispham, Hans van Daele, Michael Pedersen, Dara Ladner, Christian Hellberg and Jenny Schmitz respectively as their captains, captains who will be selecting their complete squads from the players pool in the Live Draft. As in 2017, the Champion’s League will be held over two weekends, the first at the Swedish Open in Malmo (23rd February) and then the German Open in Nussloch (3rd August), with the Champions League occurring on the Friday and a standard IWT event on Saturday and Sunday. The event format also remains the same, all the teams playing each other in a league format, with 3 men’s singles, a ladies singles, a men’s doubles and a mixed doubles constituting a match, with in true Racketlon style, the cumulative number of points across that match determining the winner.
Ok, so you have the teams, you have the divisions, but how do you get involved? Well it is perfectly simple. Firstly head over to FIR Tournament Software and register yourself for the draft. Draft registration is free, and you select to make yourself available for either: Sweden, Germany or both events. Entry to the Players Pool closes at 10:59 UK time (11:59 CET) on Monday 15th January. After that you are in the Players Pool, and could be selected by any of our franchises for their squads in either division. After that, all that is left is to tune in for the Live Draft on Monday 22nd January at 21:00 UK time (22:00 CET) and see which franchise might pick up your services.