A few faces found new homes for the upcoming 2021/22 Champions Hockey League season. Here is an overview of players who will don new sweaters this campaign.
Starting with the Swedish Hockey League, Frölunda HC welcomed defenseman Christian Folin. Folin played for Växjö Lakers HC during the 2020/21 season before being traded in May. His return will be a homecoming of sorts as he played for Frölunda’s Junior side, as well. The Växjö Lakers recently acquired defenseman Arvid Lundberg from Skellefteå AIK. Lundberg has split his time between these two clubs for the better part of seven seasons. German forward Stefan Loibl has relocated to Skellefteå from Adler Mannheim. After playing his entire career in the German league, Loibl will be suiting up with another team for another country for the first time.
Liiga clubs also saw an influx of players. IFK Helsinki received forward Otto Paajanen from Leksands IF as well as forward Olli Palola from Rögle BK. While Paajanen will be returning to the club after one season, this will be Palola’s inaugural season. But Palola has some CHL experience. In the 2014/15 season, the Oulu native skated for Tappara Tampere and then participated in the CHL again during the 2016/17 season with the Växjö Lakers. HIFK will also be adding Eetu Koivistoinen to their roster after he was traded from Lukko Rauma. Koivistoinen spent the past six seasons in Lukko’s system before being traded. Canadian Jack Rodewald, who previously played for Oceláři Třinec in the Czech Republic, will be joining TPS Turku and experiencing his first CHL campaign.
Czech side Sparta Prague will welcome a couple of players, including defenseman Michal Moravčík from Tappara and winger Erik Thorell from EV Zug. After playing one season in the Finnish Liiga, Moravčík will be returning to Czech hockey and the CHL. Thorell, who previously won the league with Zug, has also competed with CHL alums TPS and HIFK. The left-handed left wing will be lacing up with a Czech side after spending the past two seasons in Switzerland.
In the Swiss National League, Lausanne HC have acquired Martin Gernát from Oceláři Třinec. Gernát was shuffled around both North American and European leagues before he returned to Europe during the 2016/17 season. He played the past three seasons in the Czech Republic, and now the 193 cm, 92 kg defenseman from Slovakia will return to Lausanne where he played on loan during the 2017/18 season. ZSC Lions Zurich will also get a bump on the blueline as former NHLer Yannick Weber will join the club. The veteran Swiss defenseman recently wrapped up an extensive stay with the Nashville Predators of the NHL before heading back to his home country. Another D-man on the move in Switzerland is Mirco Müller who has joined HC Lugano. Like Weber, Müller has some NHL experience having last played during the 2019/20 season. He returned to European hockey after joining Leksands IF in the Swedish Hockey League to start the 2020/21 season.
Finally, Norwegian club Frisk Asker will welcome Jacob Lagacé from the Rouen Dragons, and Mikhail Stefanovich will join Ukrainian side HC Donbass Donetsk. Lagacé spent last season with the Dragons and will be appearing with his eighth European team in nine seasons. Stefanovich has played the last five seasons in Belarus, splitting time between three major clubs - Neman Grodno, Yunost Minsk, and Dinamo Minsk (of the KHL). The Minsk-native was traded to Donbass in June.