The third tier of ECL competition - ECL 11 Lite - is about to launch its new season and we're excited as ever! Let's kick off this season preview by revealing the groups, whereafter we'll continue with highlighting a few teams to keep an eye on this season.
Here are the groups for ECL 11 Lite:
Teams to watch in ECL 11 Lite
Season 10 ended with Sack Brothers winning the title and gaining promotion to the Pro division. Ducktales BK played a tremendous season but ultimately faltered 4-1 to the eventual champions. In the regular season teams like HV71 and ECDC Memmingen Esports both played a great season and might be extremely dangerous opponents in starting season (HV71 promoted to Pro based on previous performance). In fact HV71 lost to Ducktales - the finalists - in a quarter-final series and ECDC Memmingen played a huge second round series against Ducktales losing in Game 7 so both teams have showcased potential going into ECL 11.
Two interesting teams that made huge contributions last season are missing from ECL 11 Lite and those are GENESIS and HUIPPUPASSI. GENESIS reached the quarterfinals after finishing 18th in the regular season whereas HUIPPUPASSI went even further to the semifinals from 10th place in the regular season. In the quarterfinals, HUIPPUPASSI beat EBR Esports Official and in the semifinals gave an admirable opposition to the eventual champions Sack Brothers. Both GENESIS and HUIPPUPASSI are playing Pro in this season under new names and colors - GENESIS as RCTIC and HUIPPUPASSI as GOONS.
However, the fact that last seasons top performers are out opens up exciting opportunities for newcomers and other contender teams in Lite. HOKURIT is one of the teams expected to really shine in season 11. They finished 6th in the regular season and reached the quarterfinals in ECL 10, where HOKURIT eventually lost to Angry Cats who unfortunately doesn't make a return but would have been one of the teams to follow.
As stated, notably many of last seasons top performers are missing. There might be numerous of reasons and most probable reason is that enough players that stood for those success stories last season either moved on to other teams or were unable to participate in ECL 11. That leaves a wide open space for many other teams to fill the gap like. Potential prospects are definitely Old Farts and Tic Tac Toes, who have some experience mixed with great talent on their rosters. Tic Tac Toes had a difficult regular season of ECL 10 but played well in the postseason and was eliminated by the eventual champions, whereas Old Farts had a similar season and saw a second round exit against EBR Esports Official. Powerhouse HC is also one of the candidates to see success this season in Lite as they finished 4th in the regular season of ECL 10 and reached round 2 in the playoffs. An exciting new ensemble for the Lite division is also Exerceo with several skilled players that have been seen at higher levels before. The club saw fair success in the FCL but suffered a first round playoff exit.
Last but not least, MUKIMIEHET is an interesting team with several former Elite players in their roster. Players such as defenseman Janne @Janzuh Nyqvist or scoring machine and captain Ville @hpkfani Luukkonen who has been a top scorer at the Elite level for a long time are surely still in their own class at the Lite level. The team has also added Arttu @laitineen64 Laitinen who represented Reality Check in the FCL and Black Horse last season in ECL while Petri-Christian @PCJP Pelkonen takes the reigns in net. MUKIMIEHET is reborn and while they have a long way to go, they will for sure be a contender in the Lite division this season.
Players to watch in ECL 11 Lite
Due to so many teams and players moving on to new challenges, the stage is also set for new stars to shine individually. We'll do our best to pick out some interesting prospects to fill those gaps. As stated before, we're expected ECDC Memmingen Esports to have a big season, which will be helped by players such as @Wowa_1995 stepping up. He is of the most prominent players from last season that can still be seen in the Lite division as he scored 30+46 in the regular season and added 12+11 in the playoffs. Also the very experienced @Bjono from Sjukstugan should be expected to thrive at the Lite level after a good performance last season, where the Swede put up 16+66 in the regular season and added 7+21 in the playoffs. On the topic of skilled Swedes, Bjorkloven Esport recently announced the acquisition of former Farjestad BK winger @Tacterz who should be a force at the Lite level depending on how much ice time he will see. To pick out a player with the potential to surprise is hard out of the massive pack, but @kim_johan dominated Neo last season by putting up 112 points and is looking to continue on that same path at the Lite level, it'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up.
It's safe to say that the 112 teams in Lite will have their work cut out for them this season! Despite there being some strong teams to look out for, the title is up for grabs for anyone. With that being said, we wish all teams good luck with the upcoming seasons and remember to keep your eyes peeled for updates about upcoming matchups on social media, teams are getting active and will keep you updated.