The 2016-2017 Turkish Men’s Volleyball League has a new name and a new format. Now being known as the Efeler League, the Turkish Volleyball Federation also introduced the return of a playoff format. The playoff system was abandoned in 2014.
The top eight teams from the regular season will advance to the playoffs and play a best of 3 series. In the final, the two remaining teams will compete in a best of 5 series.
No matter the way they have to get to a repeat, reigning champions Halkbank will look to go the distance and win their third championship in the past four years. They will however, have to do so under new head coach Camilo Placi. Placi replaces volleyball legend Lorenzo Bernardi as coach.
Halkbank not only filled their team with new coaching talent, they have brought in many new players, most notably Serbian Ivan Miljkovic. Miljkovic joins Halkbank from Macerata in Italy. Known as one of the best hitters of all time, Miljkovic has a total 29 individual awards and won a Gold Medal with Yugoslavia at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. Miljkovic will bring his experience and ability to Halkbank for a chance at a repeat of Turkish Gold, and being last years league champs, Halkbank has a great chance of advancing far in the European Champions League.
That experience will be needed as Halkbank lost many great players over the off season. Three key players to the championship season have moved on from Halkbank. Kevin Le Roux of France has transfered to Modena of Italy. Also moving is Bulgaria Tsvetan Sokolov who has moved to Italian club Civitanova and Poland’s Michal Kubiak has taken his talents to Japan for the Panasonic Panthers. Miljkovic will have large shoes to fill.
Another team competing in the Champions League and a team capable of winning the Turkish League is Istanbul BBSK. After finishing as runners up to Halkbank in the Finals, Istanbul was also busy in the transfer market bringing in new players. BBSK made key additions in three areas, and all hail from France. Antonin Rouzier comes to Istanbul from fellow Turkish foes Arkas Spor. Joining Rouzier is Nicolas Marechal from Poland’s Skra Bełchatów and Nicolas Le Goff from Berlin Volley.
With many players leaving to new teams outside of Turkey, the competition and quality has not deteriorated and this season looks to again entertain volleyball fans across the world.