Teams arrive in Ostersund for sledge hockey Euros

Reigning champions Italy, hosts Sweden, Paralympic silver medallists Russia, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic will play for honours from Tuesday (5 April). 04 Apr 2016
Five ice sledge hockey players on the field during a game

Sweden v Austria at the2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool in Ostersund

ⒸKarl Nilsson

Reigning champions Italy, hosts Sweden, Paralympic silver medallists Russia, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic have arrived in Ostersund, Sweden, ready to compete for the title at the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships from Tuesday (5 April).

All games between 5-10 April will be shown live, alongside live results, online.

A full game schedule is available at the event website.

Italy will try to retain their gold medal from 2011, when the last Euros took place, off the back of a great season.

At a tournament in December Italy finished second only to Canada, one of the world's best teams. They also triumphed over European opponents Norway, helped by established faces Florian Planker and Greg Leperdi.

In a recent interview with, defender Gianluigi Rosa spoke of the quality of competition they will face and his team's chances: "It is probably the highest level Europeans ever," he said. "There are only top clubs, and there could be a lot of surprises. I think that Italy could surprise again like five years ago.”

Italy will play their opening game against Germany on Tuesday, whilst Sweden will face Norway.

The hosts will head out on home ice after being promoted to the A-Pool, following their silver medal performance at the World Championships B-Pool in 2015. That success came at the Ostersund Arena, the same venue as the Euros, which may give the team the edge.

Five-time Paralympian Niklas Ingvarsson, named Best Defenceman at the Worlds B-Pool last year, is also on the team sheet.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games silver medallists Russia are still amongst the world's top teams, most recently collecting bronze at the World Championships A-Pool last season.

However captain Dmitrii Lisov has said that he saw Russia's third place finish as a failure and is determined to see his team challenge for gold again.

They will begin their campaign against the Czech Republic on Tuesday, who themselves will be aiming to improve on their silver medal from 2011. The Czech Republic will also be hoping to bounce back from relegation to the B-Pool with a mix of youth and experience.

Head coach Jiri Briza said: "For some players [Martin Novak and Pavel Dolezal] it will be their first European Championship experience. But we have nothing to lose. The Czech team will be the only team from the B-Pool, so we will do our best to battle for a medal position.”

Two-time Paralympians Pavel Kubes and Michal Geier will bolster the team's defense and offense respectively.

Germany head into the Championships with renewed vigour after retaining their place in the A-Pool in 2015.

Captained by the experienced Bas Disveld, in his 10th year on the squad, the team have a raft of new, young players who will compete in their first major international tournament. Germany have set their sights high, hoping for a return to their 2005 gold medal winning glory.

“Of course our goal is to get a medal otherwise you would not enter,” Disveld said. “Germany was already European champion in ice sledge hockey. Maybe this time we can do it again.”

Five-time Paralympic medallists Norway, the bronze medal winners from 2011, return to major international competition after just missing out on a podium at the 2015 World Championships A-Pool.

Then they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Russia, whom they will face on the last day of competition on 10 April.

Their lineup remains broadly the same since the Sochi 2014 and the World Championships A-Pool, including reliable goalscorers Emil Sorheim and Loyd-Remi Solberg.

All six teams will play each other in a round-robin format between 5-10 April.

Pictures from each day will be available on Flickr.