After 12 years, two Transylvanian teams are playing against each other again in the finals of the international ice hockey league organized for clubs based in Hungary and Romania. The Csíkszereda Sportklub from Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) and the Brassó Corona Wolves from Brassó (Brașov) are competing in the Erste Liga finals, which started last Tuesday and will continue until four games are won. After four matches played last week, the series now tied at 2-2, meaning that at least two more games will be played this week.
The 2020/2021 season of the Erste Liga has come to its end, and surprisingly two Transylvanian teams will now fight for the champion title. Although the playoffs already gave ice hockey fans a ton of excitement, the finals between Csíkszereda Sportklub and its huge rival Brassó Corona Wolves have brought an especially charged battle, as the two teams are tied at the moment after four matches. Sportklub and Corona Wolves have to play at least two more games (Tuesday evening in Brassó, and Thursday in Csíkszereda) to decide which will be the champion of the 2020/2021 season.
During the history of the Hungarian-based international league, which started in 2008, this is only the third occasion when both teams playing in the finals are based outside of Hungary.
The first time this happened was in the first season of 2008/2009, when HC Csíkszereda and Sportklub Csíkszereda played against each other; HC Csíkszereda — a team that only a few months later ceased to exist — became the champion. The second time when both participants of the league were from outside of Hungary was seven years ago in the 2013/2014 season when the Brassó team played against the team of Érsekújvár (Nové Zámky), a town in Slovakia; the latter won the title.
This is the second time Brassó Corona Wolves has gotten into the finals and is fighting for its first champion title in the Erste (former MOL) Liga, while
Csíkszereda Sportklub is playing in the finals of the international league already for its fifth time.
Ten years ago, in the 2010/2011 season, under the name of HSC Csíkszereda, the Szekler team won against the Dunaújváros-based team of DAB-Docler, while two years later, DAB-Docler struck back and beat HSC Csíkszereda in the finals of the 2012/2013 season.
Two years ago, in the 2018/2019 season, the Szekler team was fighting for the gold against Budapest-based Ferencváros, but in the end, they finished only in second place. Last year, the season was interrupted during the semifinals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and both Ferencváros and Csíkszereda Sportklub were announced winners of the season, meaning that Sportklub won its second gold medal in the league.
The only question now for this year’s finals, where the teams have been neck and neck in the battle so far, is if they will end in a third victory for Csíkszereda Sportklub or if Brassó Corona Wolves will become the champion for the first time?
Timetable of the 2020/2021 season finals of Erste Liga
1st match – March 30, Tuesday; Brassó Corona Wolves – Csíkszereda Sportklub (result: 0-3)
2nd match – March 31, Wednesday; Corona Wolves – Sportklub, (result: 3-2)
3rd match – April 3, Saturday; Sportklub – Corona Wolves (result: 5-0)
4th match – April 4, Sunday; Sportklub – Corona Wolves (result: 4-5)
5th match – April 6, Tuesday 18:30; Corona Wolves – Sportklub
6th match – April 8, Thursday 18:30; Sportklub – Corona Wolves
7th match (if necessary) – April 10, Saturday 18:30; Corona Wolves – Sportklub
UPDATE: Sporklub won the 5th game Tuesday evening (Corona Wolves – Sportklub; 2-4), meaning that now Sportklub leads the series to 3-2.
Title image: Third game of the Erste Liga finals between Csíkszereda Sportklub and Brassó Corona Wolves played in Csíkszereda on April 3, 2021. (Photo: Daniel Maximilian Milata)