FINNISH HANDBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW Cocks – the biggest favorites for the trophy

It is going to be an interesting year in Finnish top handball league, as almost all of the teams have either new players or new coaches. The outstanding favorite for this years Finnish Championship is Riihimäki Cocks, they are also the only team from Finland playing in Baltic league and EHFs Challenge Cup.We will now preview the teams participating in Finlands SM league in last years standing order:Cocks(Riihimäki)Cocks are the reigning Finnish champions and it is really hard to find a team who can beat the force of Riihimäki’s foreign players mixed with some of the best handball players in Finland. Cocks already had the best scorer in Finnish league in Teemu Tamminen and the best defender in the league in Kristo Järve and now the addition of Estonians Kristo Voika(top scorer on Estonian league last season) and Marius Aleksejev(Estonian National team goalkeeper), Romanian player Andrei Buciuman and one of the future stars of Finland Robin Sjöman, indicates that Cocks have big plans for winning the Finnish league and performing on high levels in the Baltic league and in European competitions. The only minus side is that Cocks will have a big game load and the tiredness factor is something that other teams can take advantage of.Dicken(Helsinki)Dicken made some big moves on Finnish player market last summer and now the team has more experience playing together and are ready to take on the challenge of going to the Finals again and giving Cocks a run for their money. With the Broman brothers fueling their attacks and Hertola brothers doing the same for their defense they are hungrier than ever. Also one of the strengths of Dicken, seems to come from their wing players, with left wing Joacim Broman leading and one of the biggest candidates for the best Finnish right wing the young Anton Remy, following. After last years loss in the Finals to Cocks, Dicken is surtainly the biggest contender and wants to turn their silver to gold this year.Hc West(Kauniainen)With one of the best coaches in the league, Mikael Källman, leading the way, and with a rock hard defense, West are always a contender in the SM league. Now the addition of Estonian shooter Sten Toomla, West also have an extra move on offense. With three young goalkeepers, it remains to be seen, how they will do under pressure in tight spots. Although preseason games have gone well for West, they seem to have suffered a big blow in losing one of their biggest shooters and team captain in Sami Silfver for injury, as he may be out for the season.BK-46(Karjaa)With a new coach Christer Lundqvist and some serious losses in player department, BK has to rely strongly on their Estonian reinforcements Janis Selge and Mario Karuse. Some notable players, who left are goalkeeper Petter Forsström(to Hifk), Line-player Robin Sjöman(to Cocks) and the coach Kaj Hagman(to Sif). Although Karjaa has some hopeful players in Oliver Helander and Sebastian Säkkinen, it remains to be seen who will fill the big empty shoes left by Forsström and Sjöman.Atlas(Vantaa)Vantaa has a new coach in former player Martin Noodla, who has brought with him a big line-player from Estonian Marius Lepp. But they have parted ways with Nikko Kinos and it remains to be seen how much that will affect the team. Atlas will be hoping to raise some new talent with the help of a few experienced players like Marius Lepp and Toni Aalto. Atlases strong suit appears to be a hard defence paired with one of the best goalkeepers in the league Tuomas Laitinen.HIFK(Helsinki)Probably the most active team on the player market this summer has big hopes for the upcoming season. Last years coach of the season Kenneth Bäcklund will have the hard task of fitting a lot of big newcomers(including goalkeeper Petter Forsström, Nikko Kinos and wing player Niclas Ahlgren)into a team which already had one of the reportedly best left back-right back combinations in SM league, in Andre Orel and Sergej Glinka(together they scored 299 goals, which was over 40 percent of HIFK goals). If they succeed in playing as a team, Hifk has high chances of playing for the medals this year.SIF(Siuntio)Sif is going to this season as a challanger and it would be exciting to see how the new coach Kaj Hagman, will get the team running(and also will the new coach, who played last season, be playing also this season). Sif has a new goalkeeper in Richard Rehnberg and the back court has gained some reinforcements in Alexander Holmberg and Joni Jukola. But it still seems that playmaker Anton Luuppala and leftback Patrick Grönberg, with the help of Estonian line-player and defense specialist Jaan Kauge, will play a big role the upcoming season.ÅIFK (Turku)With a new Swedish coach Ulf Andersson and the physical coach Ari Nurminen, who is a former Finnish national team player, AIFK will hope to get more points than last year. With a swedish school coach, it is expected that AIFK will play a very high speed handball and could suprise quite a few teams, if they could keep up that tempo for 60 minutes. It reimans to be seen, if the newcomers Sebastian Andersson, Albert Lindholm and Viljami Saastamoinen  can replace Estonians Olev Eensalu and Taavi Tibar. Aifk also seems to have some aces up their sleeves with exchange students Alvaro Arenas Leturiaga from Spain and Brieuc Deloire from France. With this international roster it is gong to be interesting to see how the team in Turku will play.Akilles (Porvoo)Akilles has certainly gotten stronger in the midfield area, with addition of Estonian Olev Eensalu(Top 3 Scorer in the Finnish league last year) and Taavi Tibar. In addition they have added Alexander Lång, who has come back home, after playing in Sweden. Having also a shooter in  Sergiy Shevchenko, Porvoo has never failed in scoring goals and hopefully these newcomers can also tighten up their defense. With the departure of Niclas Ahlgren, it is going to be a different season and hopefully a exciting one for the team in Porvoo.The new exciting season on Finnish Handball will start 21–22.9 as follows:Atlas – HIFKHC West – ÅIFKAkilles – DickenBK-46 – SIFSource: http://www.handisliiga.fi/ajankohtaista/valtakunnan-vauhdikkaimmat-sarjat-kaynnistyvat/TEXT: Taavi Tibar cocksFinland handball leagueFinnish handball ← Previous Story BAD SEASON START FOR PSG: Parisians without victory in Toulouse Next Story → LNH teams budgets 2013/2014: PSG Handball world’s richest handball team!

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