Super Bock Arena hosted the kick-off of
Final 4 of the WSE Champions League Azemad 2023/24

The best in world hockey is back on a big stage, the Pavilhão Rosa Mota, now the Super Bock Arena, formerly the Sports Pavilion in the city of Porto. The presentation of the Final Four of the WSE Champions League Azemad took place this Tuesday at the track where Sporting, FC Porto, OC Barcelos and UD Oliveirense will compete for the trophy most sought after by European clubs.

The Rosa Mota Pavilion hosted, this Tuesday, April 16, the kick-off of the Final Four of the World Skate Europe Champions League Azemad 2023/2024, in what is the 59th edition of the biggest roller hockey competition in Europe. club level. The event will take place on the 11th and 12th of May, at Pavilhão Rosa Mota, also known as Super Bock Arena, in the city of Porto and was officially presented this Tuesday.
Four teams will fight for the most coveted trophy in European hockey, only one will lift it. The first semi-final is scheduled for 12 noon on May 11th, a Saturday, and pits Sporting CP against the current European champion, FC Porto. At 4:30 pm on the same day, Óquei Clube de Barcelos meets União Desportiva Oliveirense. The final is scheduled for May 12th, Sunday, at 3 pm. The three games will be played at the Super Bock Arena, a mythical venue that once again hosts a Champions League final 24 years later.
To reach the Final Four, Sporting CP fought in the group stage with Benfica, Parlem Calafell and Reus Deportiu, eliminating Barcelona in the quarter-finals. FC Porto had to face Hockey Trissino, SC Tomar IPT and Finques Prats Lleida in the group stage, eliminating Amatori Wasken Lodi in the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, OC Barcelos had Barcelona, Centroporsche Firenze and Deportivo Liceo in their group, leaving SL Benfica on the way in the quarter-finals. Finally, UD Oliveirense faced Amatori Wasken Lodi, Scra St-Omer and AC Valongo in the group stage, overcoming Hockey Trissino in the quarter-finals. This Final Four brings together the best of European hockey, whether or not three teams that have already won the trophy (FC Porto, Sporting and OC Barcelos) were in the competition and a fourth with natural ambitions of winning it for the first time.
This edition of the World Skate Europe Champions League 2023/2024 had 98 games in total and 709 goals were scored. It wasn’r easy to reach this Final Four, which is why the trophy is so sought after. In this presentation, the table of honor included Jorge Lopes, administrator of the Super Bock Arena, Paulo Martins, CEO of Azemad, Orlando Panza, Chair of World Skate Europe and Catarina Araújo, councilor for youth and sports at Oporto Town Hall.

Luís Sénica, president of World Skate Europe and the Portuguese Skating Federation,was not present but sent a written message:“Unable to be present, I could not pass up this opportunity, through writing, to express my satisfaction as president of World Skate Europe, for the mythical location of this FF organization of the WSE Champions League. The history of this infrastructure intersects with the imaginary of Roller Hockey in Portugal. Let it be a huge competition. Congratulations to everyone involved in this organization.”

The four emblems were represented by their directors: Quin Pauls, from Sporting CP; João Baldaia, from FC Porto; Hugo Ricardo, from OC Barcelos and Avelino Bastos, from UD Oliveirense. The games will be broadcast live on DAZN, with streaming on the Record newspaper website as well as on the WSE website.
Tickets are available from this Tuesday at the Blueticket and Super Bock Arena ticket offices and range between €10 and €15. For the final, tickets will be made available after the second semi-final game on the 11th.

Statements from those present:

Orlando Panza, Chair of WSE
“Thank you to everyone who believed in the possibility of having hockey again in this great space, a space with great memories, but which has now been transformed into a modern space. I am sure that a transformation process culminates here to take hockey to another level. This is a competition with a spectacle, guaranteeing the biggest club competition in the world, with the best teams in the world. Those who had the skills to do so reached the Final Four, and now three great games await us that we hope will go ahead with great fair play. I would also like to thank Sigma Stars for once again dedicating their commitment to organizing this event. The only expected level is excellence and I am sure that this will be achieved, leaving the level of demand even higher for the future.”

Catarina Araújo, Councilor for Youth and Sports at Oporto Town Hall
“Thanks to:  those responsible for being here today and for making it possible for hockey to return to this pavilion. Congratulations to all the clubs here arrived, having a 100% Portuguese Final Four tells us a lot, it will only make this event more exciting and exciting. The CMP's feeling is one of pride for what symbolizes the return of hockey to this place whose genesis is linked to this sport as a Sports Pavilion. There was a World Hockey Championship here more than 70 years ago, at a time when the pavilion was still under construction and when Portugal emerged victorious. It is a pavilion of great memories, great events and great achievements. Having a space with these conditions is a sign that things have changed a lot, but they have changed for the better. It is also a source of pride to have the best players from Europe and the world here. The fact that we have this final here with only Portuguese teams speaks volumes of the quality and excellence of our teams. The fact that we have this final here is recognition of the organizational capacity that this city has. We have been working hard at CMP to attract more and more events of high quality and national and international visibility, and this is an event that affirms Porto as a sports city. Don't take it wrong to say that this will once again be the Sports Pavilion. I expect a great turnout from the public, a full house for this great show that does not represent a cost, but rather an investment that will have a greater return for the city.”

Jorge Lopes, administrator of the Super Bock Arena
“Proud after four years and a pandemic in between, we have held around 400 events in this room. A space that we are very proud of, which in partnership with CMP we returned to the city. After these 400 events, there was one sporting event left and it is with great pride that we cherish this competition. It is to give a little continuity to the story, in addition to the various musical shows, having a test of this magnitude is a source of pride, only with Portuguese teams is a sign that Portuguese hockey is on the rise after eliminating teams from all over Europe. May hockey help dignify this house.”

Paulo Martins, CEO of Azemad
“Azemad was born in 1966 and in 2003, at the invitation of the organization of the Roller Hockey World Cup in Oliveira de Azeméis, Azemad Sport was born and from then on it has been a snowball. We are proud to participate in the construction of this track and its tables. That opens doors to other events. It is a detachable track that can be placed in various multipurpose spaces. May the race be a great success with the help of our floor and tables.”

Quin Pauls, Sporting CP
“SCP will have to do wonders to win this competition. Playing in this competition is very important for Sporting, especially considering that it takes place in a historic space. It will be difficult to win but we are committed to doing our best and reaching the final. Sporting has 3 European Cups, but we cannot dwell on memories of the past, we want to look to the future. I played here on this stage for the Spain team against Portugal, in a game in which I remember that the instructions were for no one to defend, but only to play attack.”

João Baldaia, FC Porto
“As a representative of the FCP, I express great joy in returning to this mythical stage in sport and hockey in particular. 24 years ago we were also here to compete in the Final Four, but unfortunately we lost in extra time to Barcelona. We are the team with the most appearances in the Champions League finals and our conviction is that we will do our best. Four great teams are competing. They are Portuguese but they are the best in the world, with the best players in the world, and others could be here. We want to win back the title and try to make people forget the final from 24 years ago. In this race there are no favorites. We are on par with the other teams.”

Hugo Ricardo, OC Barcelos
“We are in good shape, having a great season and very happy to be in this Final Four. We are going to do the most difficult thing, which is to dominate Oliveirense, who has also been very strong this season and try to reach the final to win.”

Avelino Bastos, UD Oliveirense
“There is no secret formula for what we have done this season, otherwise it would have already been applied by us and other teams. We are facing a very strong opponent, but we have made a change for the better this season and our motto is one game at a time. OC Barcelos is one of the best teams in the world, we will play on a very beautiful track, so we will give everything and we hope this will be a dream season… we are working to win something this year.”

World Skate Europe Champions League Azemad 2023/2024 Final Four Schedule:
– Saturday, May 11
Semi-final 1, at 12pm: Sporting CP – FC Porto
Semi-final 2, at 4.30pm: OC Barcelos – UD Oliveirense
– Sunday, May 12
Final, at 3pm: Winner of semi-final 1 – Winner of semi-final 2

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