Continental Cup doesn’t unveil first CHL qualifier
Kazakhstan's Arlan Kokshetau won the Cntinental Cup in a shootout (Photo: William Cherry)

Arlan Kokshetau are the winners of the 2018/19 IIHF Continental Cup. The Kazakh champions won all of their three games at the Final tournament in Belfast and lifted the trophy on Sunday after defeating the home team in the deciding game 3-2 on penalty shots.

Arlan follow Yunost Minsk (BLR/2018), the Nottingham Panthers (GBR/2017) the Rouen Dragons (FRA/2016), Neman Grodno (BLR/2015) and the Stavanger Oilers (NOR/2014) in winning the IIHF Continental Cup in the past five years – the latter five were therefore qualified for the following Champions Hockey League season each. 

"I would like to congratulate Arlan Kokshetau for an extraordinary performance in Belfast and winning the IIHF Continental Cup 2019,“ Champions Hockey League CEO Martin Baumann said. "I feel sorry for the team that I unfortunately have to add, that the Kazakh champions are not eligible to qualify for our competition and therefore, for now, we cannot announce our first qualifier for next season.“

The CHL Board decided and communicated in December already that Arlan Kokshetau cannot be accepted as a CHL qualifier if they win the IIHF Continental Cup for the reason that travel logistics to Kazakhstan are too extensive for CHL teams. 

As Arlan won the tournament, the CHL will take the decision on the Wild Card for the IIHF Continental Cup winners back to the board and communicate the outcome in due course.