A new edition of the Spanish Princess Hockey Liga stars this Sunday with some important changes in order to make more interesting the competition.
On Wednesday 23th September the competition was presented in Madrid by Santiago Deó, RFEH President, where sponsors, players, coaches and media were invited.
The new format of the league is very different from the older one and Deó expects that will be “more interesting and competitive”. Twelve teams will participate divided in two groups (A and B) of six teams playing twice against each other. The first three of each group will be classified to a new group of six (C) and will have to play twice against the three teams of the opposite group keeping the results against the two teams of the same starting group.
The last three teams of A and B group will form a new group (D) playing between each other as in group C.
The first two of group D and the six teams of group C will start a playoff (1st-8th, 2nd-7th, 3rd-4th and 5th-6th). The first to win two matches will be qualified for the semifinals and so.
The last four of group D will play between them and the last two will be relegated.
This year, due to India World Cup in February and March just the first four teams of group C will play the playoff so, this one will start directly in semifinals (1st-4th and 2nd-3rd).
The main RFEH sponsor Princess will also create a new award given to the Best Player of the League.
Last year's champions Atlétic de Terrassa changed head coach as Roger Pallarols will substitute Dani Martín, current Spanish Men Team coach. Atlétic will also lose Germans Jonas Furste and Matthias Witthaus, Spanish National team goalkeeper Xavi Castillano and Marc Sallés, who will play in Dutch Oranje Zwart.
Club de Campo and Princess RC Polo seem to be the most competitive teams to beat current champion Atlétic as Club de Campo has contracted Spanish international Edi Tubau and Argentinean Willy Schickendantz, EHL 08/09 and Spanish League 08/09 top scorer, both former Egara players, as well as goalkeeper Xavi Castillano and German gold medalist Sebastian Biederlack.
Princess RC Polo has also made a huge effort to contract Witthaus from Atlétic Terrassa and Pau Quemada and Jordi Fábregas from Belgian KHC Leuven.
Club Egara has lost many good players such as Tubau, Schickendantz, or international Spanish players brothers David and Ramón Alegre. Both will play in the Netherlands. Nevertheless Club Egara shouldn`t be underestimated as they have kept a strong level during the last years in the Princess Liga and in the EHL.
Group A: Atlétic de Terrassa, Club de Campo, Ciudad de las Palmas G.Canaria, CH Complutense SS de los Reyes, RC Jolaseta and Pozuelo HC
Group B: Princess RC Polo, Club Egara, Krafft Atlético de San Sebastián, RS Tenis, CD Terrassa and FC Barcelona