FTC-Telekom will play the Vienna Capitals, UTE will face the Fehérvári Titánok, with DEAC playing Gyergyó and SC Csíkszereda going up against Brasov in the first round of the ERSTE Liga playoffs.
At the press conference following the team selections league president Álmost Szőke said that this will be an exciting playoff season as the two teams that have played in the past three finals have left the league. After an exciting regular season the playoffs promise to be just as exciting. The traditional hockey powers all had good seasons, especially Ferencváros and UTE. The addition of new teams to the league did not water down the level of play. Debrecen who returned to the league finished in third place with new teams Gyergyő also making the playoffs. HK Budapest and Vasas also had strong showing. Second year team, the Vienna Capitals made the playoffs for the first time. The league also had a number of young players playing well during the season.
Richárd Szabados, the vice president of the league talked about the future of the league as well as the current playoff picture how just about all of the teams have a chance to win the playoffs. The Transylvanian teams also played well which has strengthened the image of the sport in the region. He also mentioned that the teams and the league have to continue on this path of being more professional. The goal for next season is to have an equally exciting season and for the teams to raise the level of play. There are a number of teams, both from Hungary and abroad that want to join the league.
FTC-Telekom head coach Szabolcs Fodor announced that they have chosen to play the Vienna Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. Ferencváros had analyzed all of the possible opponents and decided that Vienna was their best option. Capitals sport director Christian Dolezal talked about how the offseason changes proved to be good as the team is moving in the right direction.
Representing UTE was the club president Róbert Dömötör stated that they will play the Fehérvári Titánok. “Both Fehérvár and Gyergyó have their strengths and weaknesses, after thinking about it for a long time we have decided to play Fehérvár in the first round.” From Fehérvár general manager Dr. Viktor Szélig expects that the series will be close between the two teams. “The two Fehérvár teams have different concepts, this playoff series will be great for the young players to get a taste of playoff hockey. UTE is the favored team but we are not scared of them. We are not expecting to have a lot of players playing down from the EBEL. We want the players to play who had played most of the season.
András Fodor, technical director for DEAC picked Gyergyói HK based on that they had played better against them compared to Brasov. In the regular season DEAC took three out of the four games. Szilárd Bereczky the technical director for Gyergyó said that the team achieved their first goal of the season was to make the playoffs. “ DEAC is good choice for us since it will be a shorter travel for us. This is a new battle and a new season for us. Since the coaching change it looks like we have found ourselves.
The last playoff pairing is Csíkszereda against Brasov. Imre Csató Kovács represented Csíkszereda and talked about how after finishing in second place in the regular season the middle part of the season did not go exactly as planned, because of this the first round of the playoffs will be a good series for them. Greg Lindqvist, the head coach for Brasov was expecting to be paired up, we have good feelings about this playoff series, our special teams are going well of late.
FTC-Telekom–EV Vienna Capitals II
Sport Club Csíkszereda–Corona Brasov