The Steelers play in the CEFL league in 2023
Kuopio Steelers, who have won three consecutive Finnish championships, announced on Friday that they will be playing in the CEFL league on European fields alongside the domestic Maple League during the 2023 season.
Kuopio Steelers, who are heavily investing in the upcoming season, will be competing in the European CEFL league this spring. Twelve European club teams have been invited to participate in the spring games, with seven being their respective country’s champions in 2022. The matches will be played in a cup format, with four spring weekends reserved for them in the competition calendar (April 22, May 13, June 3, June 24).
CEFL teams for 2023:
- Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, German GFL champions, CEFL Bowl XVI winners
- La Courneuve Flash, French champions
- Otel Florence Guelfi, Italian champions
- E-R Parma Panthers, CEFL Bowl XVI finalist in 2022
- Calanda Broncos, Swiss league runners-up
- Stockholm Mean Machines, Swedish champions
- Kuopio Steelers, Finnish champions
- Thonon Black Panthers, French runners-up
- Madrid Osos Rivas, Spanish champions
- SBB Vukovi Belgrade, Serbian champions LG OLED
- Las Rozas Black Demons, Spanish runners-up
- Budapest Wolves, Hungarian runners-up
The four top-seeded teams in the league (Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, La Courneuve Flash, Otel Florence Guelfi, and E-R Parma Panthers) will have a bye in the first round and will face the winners of the opening round in the quarterfinals.
The opening game in Stockholm
The opening game for Kuopio Steelers in the CEFL will be against the Swedish champion team Stockholm Mean Machines. The match will be played in Stockholm. The winner of the game will face German champion Schwäbish Hall Unicorns in the second round. Unicorns visited Finland last April and beat Roosters in a friendly match with a score of 0-46.
Steelers head coach Pekka Utriainen says in the team’s press release that the international game will prepare the team for the Vaahteraliiga, which will begin in May.
-Playing the CEFL game three weeks before the start of the Vaahteraliiga actually serves us in four different ways. Firstly, we get to play the first official international game in the history of our club. The Iceland trip a couple of years ago was a nice experience, but it’s always nice to compete against the Swedes. The last players will arrive in Kuopio at the beginning of April and Mean Machines will come to face us in less than three weeks from that, so the training will surely be particularly sharp.
-Maple League will start for us with the traditional Roosters game in Helsinki on May 13th, and going into that game with one tough match under our belt is certainly a great thing.
If Steelers win their opening CEFL match, the schedule will pose a challenge for the Maple Leaque’s schedule makers. The match against Schwäbish Hall Unicorns is scheduled for the same day as the Roosters game mentioned by Utriainen at Velodrom.
CEFL Bowl XVII will be played on June 24th at the home field of one of the teams that have made it to the final.
Of the Finnish teams, Helsinki Roosters have been the most successful in international games so far. They have won the NEFL league in 2017 and 2019, as well as the IFAF Champions League in 2014. In addition, Roosters won the Eurobowl tournament in 1988, to which Vantaan Taft made the first appearance two years earlier.