-1.4 C

There was no real chemistry in Tivoli this year, so they will only choose foreigners who will make the difference



Director Feichtinger finds it hard to understand that there has been such a drop in attendance in Ljubljana this season

The hockey players of SŽ Olimpija ended the season already at the end of February because they did not qualify for the playoffs of the IceHL League. An early bye means they have a chance at the club to build a squad for next season. The budget will very likely increase a bit.

In the IceHL League, there is a “fifth season” for fans, as the playoffs are always the icing on the cake. Especially the Carinthia derby between Beljak and KAC will be hot on the ice and in the stands. Rivalry can be felt at every step. Tickets for the matches were sold out in ten minutes. In the first match, the people of Vilnius eliminated Beljak 4:0, the excellent Rok Tičar scored twice. In Ljubljana, after last year’s brilliant season, they follow the matches only as spectators. At the press conference in Tivoli, they drew a line under this year’s season and set the stage for the next one, which will not start until six months from now.

For the first time, we ended the season so early. I don’t take it as something drastic. On the one hand, we completed the double domestic crown, we played in the Champions League, which was a historic step. On the other hand, we were less successful because we did not qualify for the playoffs. We did the analysis, we learned a lot. From players to management, across all segments. We lost seven games by only one goal, and eight by two, including one to an empty net,” stressed President Miha Butara.

If someone buys a ticket, they haven’t bought the right to insult the playersOlimpija won six of the opening nine games. As late as December 2, it was in 9th place, but after that it did not win a single home game. In the last 26 games of the regular season, the people of Ljubljana collected only 11 points.

There was no real chemistry. We have all learned to pick up on these signals. When things pile up and we don’t talk, we reach a point of no return. We want to maintain a positive atmosphere around the club. This season the results have not been right and members of our club have been subjected to hate speech and insults. We will have zero tolerance. Insults and hate speech have no place in sports. We do not shy away from criticism, but it must be constructive. If someone buys a ticket, they haven’t bought the right to insult the players and other people who work at the club,” the First Dragon Man added firmly.

Butara has repeatedly emphasized that salaries are regular, never late. “The club’s business is stable. The budget will remain the same as this season. We will very likely raise it a little more. We have set plans for the next season very intensively. On Monday, we will put season tickets on sale for the next season. The action will last until April 10. For existing owners, the price will be 200 euros, and for new customers 250. Everyone will also receive a personalized jersey.”

Tivoli was the most crowded this season on January 10, when Olimpija beat Jesenice 4:0 in the final of the national championship.  2800 spectators gathered.  In the IceHL, the Dragons rank last in attendance, averaging just 940 spectators per game.  Vienna leads (3,906 viewers on average), and Asiago (1,437) is second to last.  Photo: www.alesfevzer.com

Feichtinger finds it difficult to understand that there has been such a drop in attendance in Ljubljana this seasonDirector Christian Feichtinger was a guest in Celje last week. When he talked about Olympia, he was mainly distracted by the extremely poor attendance at the games in Tivoli.

If we want the club to grow, the fans will grow with us. We want between 30 and 40 percent of the budget to be covered by tickets and sales of fan merchandise. In the long term, it is impossible for the club to be based only on patrons. If you want to have a bigger budget, a lot depends on the viewers. An example is the team Erisbären Berlin, which was two consecutive champions of the DEL League, this year it was left without a playoff. They have an outstanding team, but they were at the bottom of the table. They have loyal fans even in bad times. Even Linz, Graz and Fehervar do not qualify for the playoffs every year, but they have a stable base of supporters,” Butara mused.

Director Christian Feichtinger and I talked several times about the bad visit to Ljubljana. It is not clear to him how there could have been such a drop in attendance in Ljubljana this season. They don’t understand that in Austria. Linz had a lot of spectators when it was last last year. Vorarlberg has a nice visit, but this year was the last one. The final outcome of the match is not the only thing. Every hockey game is an event.

Ulčar: We are already quite far in our agreements with foreign reinforcementsClub director Anže Ulčar emphasized that some personnel issues have already been resolved, some will be resolved shortly.

One dimension of development is the desire to succeed, although the outcome is not the primary goal of development or work with younger people. Our goal is the development of players and their inclusion in the member’s team, which we have already done this year. Players who were on the fringes of the first team became an important part of the team for most of the season” Ulčar said about the development side of the season.

A worse season in terms of competition is, in a way, an opportunity to start forming the team for the next one earlier. Both playing, coaching and strategic. Immediately after the resignation of Mitja Šivica, we brought in a new coach and together we are building a team for the future. We learned a lot, especially that character and values ​​are very important. Last season, when everything went smoothly for us, it was easier. This year it showed and our main goal is to form a team that will go into every match with the desire and ability to win,” adds the director.

The outlines of the team are thus already made. We are already quite far in our agreements with foreign reinforcements. Some are still playing in the playoffs and we shouldn’t talk about them. We want to have foreign players who will make a difference. Our coach wants to have a strong central line. We want to have a good shooter. This season, Marc Olivier Vallerand had this role, but he was injured for a long time. Foreigners must be leaders on the ice and also in the dressing room in difficult moments. This is key to the development of young Slovenian players.”

Thus, when asked about the possible conclusion of a contract with one of the Slovenian representatives, they pointed out that there is of course a desire in this area, but in the end, even in this case, money decides.

Karhula quickly bonded with the playersCoach Antti Karhula is still in Ljubljana. He has already directed all his thoughts to the composition of the staff for the next season.

It’s been a short season behind me, but I feel well received, both by the players and the club’s management. I think we caught up well, the boys showed real character and those are things we can build on going forward. Since we are not in the playoffs, we can start building the team early. Of course we would like to build around the core we already have, the boys are fighters, but I also see potential in the young players who could play next season,” said Karhula, who succeeded Šivica only at the end of January.

Miha Zajc can't wait to be able to correct the bad impression of this year's season in the IceHL League with his teammates.  Photo: www.alesfevzer.com

Zajc is sure that the next season will be betterA tougher season is behind us, both for the boys and everyone around them. Now we go for new victories. It’s hard to change a lot in a month, but we are all looking forward to next season and I think it will be much better than this one“, the hero of the final of the national championship, Miha Zajc, who will also play for the dragons next season, expressed optimism.

The Alpine League is (still) too much of a financial burden for SlaviaAt the end of the press conference, the topic was the general picture of Slovenian club hockey. It was a great wish that the people of Jesenice would also play in the IceHL League, but after thorough consideration, they withdrew their application and did not apply for the Alpine League either. Only Celjani will play in the Alpine League, as Slavija has not registered either.

I would be most happy if there were seven good clubs in Slovenia, not just two. We cooperate very well with Slavia. The sports pyramid in Ljubljana has been confirmed and is being implemented. We wanted Slavija to play in the Alpine League, but everything has to do with finances. I understand that the management of the club does not want to risk the existence of the club, because it is still too much for them at the moment. I am happy that Celje will play in the Alpine League. Hockey in Slovenia must also develop in other centersh,” Butara explained.

The leadership of the IceHL League has no feelings for the tradition of hockey in Ljubljana or in JeseniceThe IceHL league has clear rules. If the club from Slovenia meets all the requirements, they will accept it, otherwise not. They have no feelings for the tradition of hockey in Ljubljana or in Jesenice. They look at the club’s operations and decide who will be able to play. I would prefer to see seven Slovenian clubs play in the IceHL League, but at the moment it is not realistic that even two,” concluded the president of Olympia.

Source: Rtvslo

Subscribe to our magazine


━ more like this


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here