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Gibraltar Hockey will see its top clubs teams in Challenge I competitions next season

Gibraltar hockey will see three of its clubs playing in the top tier of the Challenge division, with Eagles gaining promotion to the Challenge I men’s division, Grammarians maintaining their status in the same division, and Europa Women’s Hockey also gaining promotion to the Women’s Challenge I division.
This marks the first time in many years that Gibraltar hockey has its top teams playing at the highest level in the Challenge categories of the EuroHockey competition, although it is not the highest level Gibraltar has played at. The success of Eagles this weekend in winning promotion from the Challenge II men’s division, where they beat Luxembourg HC in one of the two crossover final playoffs after hosting the event themselves, was the first step towards this weekend’s achievements by Gibraltar clubs.
Europa Women’s Hockey also contributed to Gibraltar’s feat by finishing third in their Challenge II tournament, where four teams were promoted to the Challenge I division. Grammarians, who suffered two early defeats in the competition, secured their stay with a 2-0 win against Epitok. The latter was forced to play in the crossover playoffs to determine relegation to Challenge II. Grammarians were already secured from having to play any further matches.
The success of Gibraltar clubs also came with some negatives after incidents during Sunday’s playoffs at Bayside Sports Complex led to disciplinary actions from EuroHockey for two Eagles officials. Both the Eagles Head Coach and the assistant manager received reprimands for their actions during the penalty shootouts and have since apologized to the European governing bodies. These actions occurred during a tense encounter between Eagles and Luxembourg, where frustrations grew over numerous umpiring decisions. With a vociferous crowd adding to the day’s intensity and both sides playing for promotion, tensions boiled over at times, resulting in three disciplinary actions recorded by the EH—two against Gibraltar officials and one against a Luxembourg player.
These actions, however, did not mar the celebrations as Eagles achieved another feat by claiming promotion for a consecutive season and guaranteeing their place in the top tier of the Challenge division after many years of effort. Having already lifted the league title, Eagles were poised to play at the highest level. The fact that Grammarians protected Gibraltar clubs’ presence in Challenge I also means that two Gibraltar teams will be playing in the division.
This comes at a time when Gibraltar Hockey prepares to see its main hockey pitch surface replaced this summer. With discussions already underway for Gibraltar to host another European hockey event next year, the prospect of hosting a Challenge I tournament in Gibraltar has gained further momentum with two Gibraltar teams participating. Recent reluctance by other European club associations to host competitions on their home ground makes Gibraltar’s bid a strong contender for hosting another event next summer. This, however, is yet to be confirmed, as EuroHockey has not yet announced its decisions on which countries will host competitions next season.
In the meantime, Gibraltar celebrates its successes in both the men’s and women’s competitions, looking forward to playing against some of the bigger hockey nations such as Italian and Croatian clubs, among others.

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