The second edition of the Nordic Water Polo League starts this evening. This competition is established last spring, with the participation of clubs from Finland and Sweden.
Besides Swedish and Finnish clubs, the teams from Poland and Lithuania will take part in the second edition. A total of 9 teams will compete: SPIF, Järfälla, Hellas (all Sweden), Kuhat Helsinki, Cetus Espoo, Turun Uimarit, Kuopio (all Finland), Vandensvydis Vilniuje Vilnius (Lithuania) and ŁSTW OCMER Łodz (Poland). In the first phase of the league, the teams are split into two groups. The matches of Group A will be played this weekend in Stockholm, while the games in Group B will be held in Vilnius.
Jose Javier Veganzones, the president of the Stockholmspolisens IF Water Polo Club (SPIF) from Stockholm and one of the founders of the Nordic League, presents this competition for Total Waterpolo.
Veganzones, who was born in Spain, played water polo for the Club Natación Pozuelo from Madrid. Introducing himself, he says:
I moved to Stockholm at the age of 21 because of Erasmus studies in civil engineering. I started to play water polo for SPIF thanks to Hans Lunden, who welcome me to the club. I stayed in Stockholm after my studies because I found a job as a Ph.D. student at KTH University. Due to my passion for this sport, I became involved with the development of my club and became part of the Board. Three years ago I was appointed as president of the club. Meanwhile, I have also been a coach of youth players in the club and the head coach of the Swedish national U17 team for the last four years.
Who came up with an idea to launch Nordic Water Polo League and who is responsible for the organization?
In Scandinavia, there had always been talks about creating a tournament with the best teams in the Nordic region, similarly to the Adriatic League. However, none of the federations has taken the final step to create it. I have proposed this many times to the Swedish federation, but no actions have ever been taken. Instead, it was suggested that this should be organized by the clubs.
A few years ago, the highest men’s league in Sweden, called “Elitserien”, consisted of six teams: SPIF, Järfälla, Hellas, Linköping, SKK and RAN Malmö. In the last two years, some of the clubs dropped out, so just three Stockholm teams remained in the league: SPIF, Järfälla and Hellas.
I could see there was disappointment between players and especially lack of motivation to keep training a whole season just to play a national league with three teams from the same city, in absence as well of a senior national team. This made me understand that it was the moment to make this league happen as soon as possible before the situation got worse. I called my friend Raul Perian from Turun Uimarit (Turku, Finland) to explain the situation. In Finland, there were just four teams at that moment. We both agreed that it was time to start already in that same season. It was difficult to set up such league with the participation of many countries, so the first step was to start with just the three teams of Sweden and three from Finland (Kuhat Helsinki and Cetus Espoo and Turun Uimarit).
Veganzones underlines that the Nordic Water Polo League and the Nordic Championships (also called recently Nordic Champions League) weren’t the same competition. The Nordic Championships is an annual tournament that gathers in one weekend the best two teams from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway for both men’s and women’s teams. The Nordic Championships were played last weekend 6-8 October in Stockholm.
Could you explain the competition system in the Nordic Water Polo League?
The first edition of the League was played last spring by a round-robin system with the Final Six. The round-robin tournament was held in Stockholm. The Final Six, based on the ranking of tournament in Stockholm, was played in Turku. Even though the first qualified team in Stockholm was SPIF, the eventual champion at the Final Six was Järfälla, which defeated Turun in the final. A special feature of this first edition was that for the first time in Scandinavia new rules were applied while in the national league the old rules still prevailed.
In Veganzones’s opinion the first edition had been very successful. What can we expect in the second edition?
–The number of participating teams increased. The league expanded with an extra team from Finland (Kuopio) and with two new countries – Lithuania and Poland. Lithuania is represented by Vandensvydis Vilniuje (Vilnius), while the Polish club is ŁSTW OCMER from Lodz. The teams are split into two groups. The teams will play against each other twice. All the games are distributed in two weekends in different cities and played simultaneously in both groups.
As we have already written, this weekend (25 – 27 October), Group A will be played in Stockholm, while the matches of Group B will be held in Vilnius. The second tournaments are scheduled for December (6 – 8). The hosts will be Lodz (Group A) and Turku (Group B)
The best three teams of each group will qualify for the Final Six which will be played in Stockholm 7-9 February.
The organizers of the Nordic League have ambitious plans.
We aim to include in future editions more countries in the Nordic region such as Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. We have also talked about having a league for women’s and youth teams- Veganzones concluded
Total Water Polo wishes you good luck with future plans!
Live streaming of the matches in Group B (Vilnius) will be available on link
Group A (Stockholm)
Järfälla Vattenpolo – ŁSTW Łódź
SPIF Vattenpolo – Kuhat Academy
Järfälla Vattenpolo – Kuhat Academy
SPIF Vattenpolo – ŁSTW Łódź
Kuhat Academy – ŁSTW Łódź
SPIF Vattenpolo – Järfälla Vattenpolo
Group B (Vilnius)
Vandensvydis Vilniuje Vilnius – Kuopion Uimaseura
Hellas SK 13 – 8 Turun Uimarit
Hellas SK – Kuopion Uimaseura
Cetus – Turun Uimarit
Vandensvydis Vilniuje Vilnius – Hellas SK
Kuopion Uimaseura – Cetus
Kuopion Uimaseura – Turun Uimarit
Vandensvydis Vilniuje Vilnius – Cetus
Hellas SK – Cetus
Vandensvydis Vilniuje Vilnius – Turun Uimarit
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