The Baltic Handball League (BHL) has announced the participants for the 2022–2023 season as well as changes to the competition system and the composition of groups. In the upcoming season, the BHL will feature 12 teams: five from Estonia, four from Lithuania and three from Latvia. HC Amber, ASK Zemessardze and HC Tallinn will make their BHL debut this season. The teams are divided into two groups based on their ranking in the previous season.
A group: Viljandi HC and Mistra (Estonia), Dragunas Klaipeda and Granitas Kaunas (Lithuania), ASK Zemessardze and HC Ogre/HYDROX (Latvia).
B group: Polva Serviti, SK Tapa and HC Tallinn (Estonia), VHC Sviesa and HC Amber (Lithuania), ZRHK TENAX Dobele (Latvija).
The official BHL website interviewed Tadas Jansonas, the new League Manager, about the upcoming season.
What is the system of the competition and why was it decided to change the system this season?
Last season there were two rounds and all teams met each other twice – at home and away. But the strongest Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian teams were overworked by having to play not only in the Baltic League, but also in national championships and European Cup tournaments. The best handball players of clubs also represent their national teams. It is not only the players who have been overworked by too many matches. The financial costs for the clubs were also too high. It has therefore been decided that for the upcoming season, the competition will be held in groups, then eight teams will enter the quarter-finals and the champions will be crowned in the Final Four.
When will the BHL regular season start?
The BHL regular season will start on 24 September 2022 and end on 26 February 2023. The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals. The Baltic League champions will be crowned in the Final Four on 15–16 April. The winners of the regular season will have the right to host the Final Four.
How much has the BHL roster changed?
HC Amber, ASK Zemessardze and HC Tallinn will make their league debut this season. They will replace HC Vilnius, SK Latgols Ludza and HC Kehra, who played in the league last season. The list of participating clubs was based not only on the competitiveness of the team on the court, but also on the club’s management, public relations and work with fans. Thirteen teams were due to play this season. However, Varsa Alytus withdrew just before the start of the season, leaving 12 teams.
What new things are in store for BHL fans?
All BHL games will be streamed on the BHL YouTube channel. Match previews and match overviews, as well as the election of the best handball players, will be available on the official League website and on the social media networks Facebook and Instagram. Here you will be able to follow all the hottest League news. We will also take a look at how BHL clubs are doing in the EHF European Cup.
The BHL staff has also has some new additions. When I became the new League Manager, we invited Media Officer Tautvydas Vencevicius and experienced Social Media Specialist Edgaras Alsauskas to join the team. Zigmars Sondors remains the Chief Referee.
It is going to be an exciting and intriguing BHL season. It will be interesting to see who will challenge the Estonian teams that dominated last season, how much stronger the Lithuanian clubs that are trying to regain the title have become, and how the ASK club, which is trying to bring back the traditions of Latvian handball, will fit into the League. The Baltic states have a lot to show the whole of Europe, first and foremost, that handball is loved and has a long standing tradition in our region. We therefore invite everyone to the handball arenas to support their favourite teams in the upcoming BHL season.