With 22 points in just 13 games played, Ryan Lasch continued his offensive dominance in the CHL and helped the Frölunda Indians capture their 3rd CHL title in just 4 years.
Although the CHL, by name, is relatively new, the tournament has been around since 2010 and was formerly known as the European Trophy. Changing its name in 2014, the Champions Hockey League draws comparisons to it's footballing counterpart. The top teams from leagues around Europe compete for hockey supremacy. Comprised of 32 teams representing 10 European nations the teams compete for the title of CHL Champions.
Since its inception in 2014, 4 of the 5 championships have been won by a Swedish team. Luleå captured the first ever CHL Championship, Frölunda has been victorious 3 times and JYP Jyväskylä of the Finnish league hoisted the trophy last season.
Despite the SHL being represented by at least five teams each year, the Frölunda Indians remain the only Swedish squad to win multiple titles, something forward Ryan Lasch credits to the players and the culture in the club.
– A lot of it has to do with the guys we have on the team, we always have guys who step up. It's a mixture of the players and the culture, how they pride themselves, we try to be a winning kind of club. Frölunda treats it serious, we take pride in it, and try to be the best every time we play in the CHL.
Frölundas dominance in the CHL has been greatly aided by the offensive contributions of Lasch himself. Although he sits just 5th overall when it comes to CHL games played (47) he is 1st all time in the CHL when it comes to goals scored (23) assists (46) and points (69). In fact he is 26 points ahead of 2nd all time, his captain, Joel Lundqvist. Extremely impressive numbers considering he's playing against the top teams from around the continent.
– I think it's the fact we're playing against the top teams. Wanna showcase, wanna prove that you're the best. I think that's the biggest thing that brings out my game, being competitive and really showing what I can do.
Despite the fact the CHL has struggled at times to gain popularity among the hockey fans of Europe, Lasch believes it's a great opportunity to not only showcase talent from all across Europe but is also a unique experience for the players.
– I think it's awesome. It's great for hockey, great for European hockey. Playing against top teams from other leagues, elsewhere you might not get a chance to do that your whole career.
With the CHL wrapped up, Frölunda now sets their sights solely on the final push for the SHL playoffs. With just 13 games remaining in the regular season and a tight race for a spot in the top six, plenty of teams can make a push for the top. Although Frölunda has had some recent woes in the SHL, dropping their last 3 games and at risk of falling out of the top six, Lasch believes this win will give them the enrgy and morale boost they need to finish out the regular season on a high note.
– I think it's a huge boost for sure, we've been struggling in the Swedish league before the [Championship] game, so I think we're looking at a lot of positives. I think we showed ourselves that we can win, that we've got a good team.