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Waterpolo History: The Nordic League.

This week's waterpolo history lesson goes to the Nordic League. As waterpolo continues to grow and evolve as a sport, we are taking a look at how players and coaches from the North of Europe are creating their league!

We have asked Raul Perian, one of the founders of the Nordic League, to share their story.

My name is Raul Perian and together with Jose Javier Veganzones we founded Nordic League in January 2019.

A bit of background. I'm a Romanian player for Turun Uimarit from Turku, Finland and at that time I was also the coach of men's team. My friend Jose is a Spanish player for Polisen Stockholm, Sweden and also the president of his club.

In January 2019, we had a historical minimum of teams playing in the first league in both Finland and Sweden, with 4, respective 3 teams. Due to this situation, Jose called me a month before a suggested to do something to have a stronger competition and more matches.

This was the start of Nordic League, with Turun Uimarit travelling to Stockholm in February to play against the Swedish teams. First edition gathered 6 teams - Turun Uimarit, Cetus Espoo and Kuhat Helsinki from Finland and Polisen Stockholm, Hellas Stockholm and Järfälla Vattenpolo from Sweden. Järfälla Vattenpolo was crowned as Nordic League's first champion after a Final Round in Turku.

2019/2020 edition saw the Nordic League expanding to 9 teams from 4 countries. The newcomers were Kuopio from Finland, LSTW Lodz from Poland and Vandensvydis Vilnius from Lithuania. The teams were divided in two groups and two preliminary tournaments were played in both groups. First three team per group advanced to the Final Six tournament in Stockholm. The spectators had the chance to watch 7 high quality matches and the end of which Turun Uimarit took its revenge in the final against Järfälla. These were the last matches in the Nordic League before the start of the pandemic.

The expected start of the 2020/21 edition was delayed several times and we have decided last week the whole edition will consist of a final tournament in Turku, in September. We are planning a tournament with 8 teams, 2 from each 4 countries. It is expected to be one of the strongest club tournaments hosted in Finland in the last 30 years.

During the Finals, we will reveal the plans for the next 2021/22 season, that most probably will be played between January - June 2022.

For the next season, we would like to further expand the league, we would like to continue our cooperation with LEN and the most important goal of ours - help to improve the quality of water polo in the Northern Europe and Baltic region as well as increasing its popularity.

In the end, we would like to thank again to all our local sponsors and partners, whom have helped us organizing the tournaments in the best conditions in Stockholm, Turku, Lodz and Vilnius.

More info can be found on our facebook page (including our logo and other background images):


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