|AS Asiago Hockey|
|City:||Asiago, Vicenza, Italy|
|Home Arena:||Stadio Odegar|
|Colors:||Red, yellow, white and blue|
|General Manager:||Piercarlo Mantovani|
|Head Coach:||James Camazzolla|
|Playoff Championships:||Scudetto: 2001, 2010|
Coppa Italia: 1991, 2001, 2002, 2010
Supercoppa italiana: 2003
The Asiago Hockey 1935, is an Italian ice hockey team from Asiago which plays in the Alps Hockey League and formerly Serie A. Not to be confused with the Asiago Vipers (an in-line hockey team from Asiago).
Founded in 1935 thanks to the initiative of Edoardo Carli, AS Asiago made its debuts in the Serie B, where it played some good seasons before World War II interrupted play for several seasons (excluding 1940-41). Following the War, it took only one season 1946-47) to Asiago to be promoted to the Serie A. The club maintained itself there for seven years before falling back to the Serie B in 1955.
The club had to wait until 1969-70 to gain another promotion to the Serie A. The club did not perform so well, but nevertheless maintained itself in the Serie A until 1976, where the team was relegated to the Serie B, not because of its on-ice performances, but because of its ice itself - the lack of coverture over the newly built Stadio Odegar didn't please the league authorities, as Asiago was playing on the frozen tennis courts of the locality of Millepini. The next season, they earned their promotion back to the Serie A and never relegated back to the Serie B again.
Asiago's improvements showed in the early 1980s. For two straight seasons, 1981-82 and 1982-83, the club finished 3rd in the league; three seasons later, they reached their first Scudetto final against HC Merano. The same thing happened in 1989-90; this time losing to HC Bolzano.
After losing again to Bolzano in the Scudetto final in 2000, Asiago bounced back in 2000-01 by winning both the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto, in the latter case, for the first time of its history, by defeating the Milano Vipers. That season, Asiago established an impressive league record of 40 straight wins, thus winning every single matches of the regular season and all but one of the playoffs games, including a stunning 10-0 win over SSI Vipiteno in the third and last game of the semifinals.
2002 was another big season for Asiago. If they failed to repeat their league title and their exploit of the previous season in terms of games won, finishing third, they nevertheless clinched a third Coppa Italia and reached the final of the Supercoppa italiana, losing to Milano. The team, thanks to its previous year league title, was invited to take part in the Continental Cup for the first time of its history. HC Asiago entered the Cup in the third round and was put in the Group K, which games were held in Asiago. The club tied its first game against Keramin Minsk 3-3 and won its second over Olimpija Ljubljana 3-2. They lost to Jukurit Mikkeli 2-1 in the third and last game of the Group K, which sealed the team's fate.
Asiago reached the league playoffs' final once again in 2003 after a solid second place in the regular season. They faced Milano, who needed six games to defeat them. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, again losing to Milano. There was however a little something left for the fans to rejoice, as the team won its first, and to date only, Supercoppa italiana. The next season saw the team once again reach the playoffs final, losing one more time to Milano, again in six games. They were also semifinalists for the Coppa Italia.
From 2005 onward, Asiago's strenght decline. If they performed a respectable 3rd place in 2005, with a team featuring National Hockey League players Rico Fata, Mathieu Dandenault, Fernando Pisani and Stéphane Quintal, their 6th place in 2006 and back-to-back 9th places in 2007 and 2008 and 5th place of 2009 proved to be a transitional period of reconstruction for the club. 2007 proved especially more tragic since Canadian player Darcy Robinson died in Asiago's uniform on the opening match of the 2007-08 season. The club honoured his memory by retiring his jersey number 5. That season also marked the retirement of one of the greatest Italian players of all time, Lucio Topatigh. Topatigh, known by the fans as Il Falco di Gallio (the Falcon from Gallio, his birthplace) had started his career in Asiago in 1984 and after collecting much successes through his career that saw him play a thousand matches in the Serie A with Asiago, Bolzano and the Milano Devils, had come back to his original team Asiago in 1999 for good.
But eventually, Asiago was bound to retrieve the league's summit; this happened in 2010, as the team defeated SV Renon in a four games sweep in order to win a second Scudetto. This title came only three days after their junior side, Amatori Asiago, defeated Black Angels Milano in the final played in Roma.
Notable Asiago players
Here are some notable players who have sported Asiago's jersey through the club's history:
This number was retired to honour Robinson, who played two seasons in Asiago and deceased on September 27th 2007 during the opening match of the season of a heart attack.
This article is in large part a translation of the italian Wikipedia article on the team, which can be found here: .