Zagreb's KHL Medvescak, despite being the team with the smallest seasonal budget, has secured its spot in the playoffs in its first season in the Euro-Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The league officially announced the news at 7:30PM and identified Medvescak as one of 8 teams in the Western Conference to make it into the playoffs.
''I really didn't even think about this, but I would be lying if I said I didn't dream about it! With this budget we've created a sporting wonder in the league, making it to the playoffs against teams that have budgets up to ten times larger than ours. It shows that our coaches and athletic team have done an outstanding job and I'm glad that I never once doubted in their success!'', said President Damir Gojanovic, adding:
''Together with the fans and partners we've done more than was expected and I would like us all to enjoy hockey together, and enjoy the sport without any pressures and burdens of higher goals!''
This is the fifth season in a row in which Medvescak secured the playoffs in the championships they took part in; four years in a row in EBEL, and right away in their debut season in the KHL.
Medvescak have another special night of hockey ahead with an open-air game under the stars in the Citroen Winter Classic as Zagreb's Salata skating rink (Feb. 8, 5:30PM vs Vienna Capitals), followed by four away KHL games in Riga, Moscow, Prague, and Bratislava. Playoff games begin in March, and the schedule will be determined by the position Medvescak get in the coming games in the TOP 8 teams in the Western Conference. During the Olympic break, Medvescak will play prep games in Veinna (Feb. 14) and Graz (Feb. 16).