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Apr '15 16

Dutch Hoofdklasse starts into 2015 Campaign

The Dutch Hoofdklasse starts into the 2015 season this Thursday. While the National Team is a continuing success story, the Hoofdklasse is not taking advantage of it. While attendance for all national team events is high, it’s low in league play.

The problems got on the surface this winter, when the ADO Lakers from The Hague had to withdraw from the Hoofdklasse a couple of months before the new campaign. It is the second time in the last five years that a team dissolved after Sparta/Feyenoord Rotterdam. KNBSB got lucky this year, finding an immediate replacement with Mampaey The Hawks.

One of the challenges in the Hoofdklasse is certainly the dominance of the top four: Curacao Neptunus, Vaessen Pioniers, Corendon Kinheim and L&D Amsterdam. They always seem to be locked in the playoff spot from the start. A format change last season to split the regular season into two parts didn’t offer a quick resolution.

Nonetheless level of play in the Hoofdklasse will be as high as ever before. Neptunus, which changed sponsors from DOOR to Curacao this winter, is the defending champion and the heavy favorite. They did a good job by inserting young talent into the lineup a couple of years ago and can rely on the majority of the roster for a long time. They get reinforced with Belgian national teamer Kenny van den Branden as well as Loek van Mil.

Besides Van Mil, four other players are returning to the Netherlands following stints in professional leagues. Lars Huijer chose the Vaessen Pioniers over a likely Double-A assignment with the Chicago Cubs. Nick Urbanus joins his father’s club L&D Amsterdam after his departure from the Texas Rangers. Corendon Kinheim was able to add former Minor Leaguer Dudley Leonora and welcome back Tom Stuifbergen after an elbow injury.

It remains to be seen if the other four clubs HCAW Bussum (no longer sponsored by Mr. Cocker and without head coach Ivan Rodriguez), UVV, Mampaey The Hawks and the promoted DSS find ways to regularly surprise the big four. As usual all games will be available via Live Play by Play through www.knbsbstats.nl.

Schedule Week 1:

Thursday 16 April 2015
 L&D Amsterdam Pirates  UVV
 DSS  Corendon Kinheim
 Vaessen Pioniers  Mampaey The Hawks
 Curaçao Neptunus  HCAW Bussum


Saturday 18 April 2015
Ookmeer  L&D Amsterdam Pirates  UVV
Pim Mulier  DSS  Corendon Kinheim
Pioniers  Vaessen Pioniers  Mampaey The Hawks
Familiestadion  Curaçao Neptunus  HCAW Bussum


Sunday 19 April 2015
 HCAW Bussum  Curaçao Neptunus
 Mampaey The Hawks  Vaessen Pioniers
 Corendon Kinheim  DSS
 UVV  L&D Amsterdam Pirates

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