RK Gorenje Velenje

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RK Gorenje Velenje
RK Gorenje.png
Full name Rokometni Klub Gorenje Velenje
Nickname(s) Ose (The Wasps)
Founded 1958; 60 years ago (1958)[1]
Arena Red Hall
Capacity 2,500
President Milan Meža
Head coach Željko Babić
League Slovenian First League
2016–17 2nd
Club colours          
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Team colours
Official site
Gorenje Velenje vs Koper during a league match
Gorenje Velenje vs Koper in 2013

Rokometni Klub Gorenje Velenje (English: Gorenje Velenje Handball Club), commonly referred to as RK Gorenje or simply Gorenje, is a Slovenian handball club from Velenje. They play their games at the Red Hall (Rdeča dvorana). The club has many selections ranging from junior to professional teams. The club's greatest achievements were four republic championship titles (1972–73, 1980–81, 1984–85 and 1988–89) in the former Yugoslavia. Since the Slovenian independence, the club has won three league titles (2008–09, 2011–12, and 2012–13), and one Slovenian handball cup title (2002–03). The club also participated in the EHF competitions for many seasons, including the EHF Cup, the EHF Cup Winners' Cup, and the EHF Champions League. Currently, Gorenje competes in the Slovenian First League. Together with Celje, they are the only club that have participated in every season of the Slovenian First League since its formation in 1991.

The club was known as RK Šoštanj and ŠRK Velenje in the past.


1958–1972: Beginning of handball in Šoštanj[edit]

In 1958, when section of handball was established at TVD Partizan, organized handball started to develop in the town of Šoštanj.[2] Handball was pioneered by young men in local schools with the help of some basketball players. The first pioneers were Miligoj Jarnovič, Pavle Bukovac, and Jože Pukmajster.[2] In the beginning, the club participated in the Celje regional league. In 1964–65,[2] they qualified to the Styrian regional league and a year later, Šoštanj achieved its biggest success and qualified to the Yugoslavian republic league and were never relegated. In the 1970s, team handball developed and was top event in the region, on average match there were about 1,000 spectators.


15 years after the club was established it became Republic Champions, after finishing first in Slovenian republic league of Yugoslavia in the 1972–73 season.[2]

Competing in the II. Yugoslavian handball league (they qualified through the republic league) was a great honor and commitment to hard work. But the team dropped out of the II. Yugoslavian league and returned to the republic league after just one season, possibly due to lack of experience, resources and other factors.[2]


After playing in the interrepublic league from 1981 to 1984,[2] team handball players from Šoštanj qualified, for the first time since the 1973–74, to the II. Yugoslavian handball league.[2] Although they had some financial and HR problems (they replaced 3 coaches), the team from Šoštanj finished 5th in 1990.[2]

Although the name RK Šoštanj was known across Slovenia and former Yugoslavia, the club decided to change their name[2] to ŠRK Velenje (Šaleški Rokometni Klub Velenje). This was because all games in previous years were played in Velenje at the Red Hall and because most of the players were locals from Velenje. In that season, ŠRK Velenje finished third.[2] The first two places lead to qualifications to the I. Yugoslavian handball league, and in their last match they lost that qualifying position. This has been called the biggest accomplishment in 30 years of the club's history.[2]


After their most successful season, when the club was at the near top of the II. Yugoslavian league and Celje even qualified to I. Yugoslavian league, Slovenia declared its independence. Handball clubs of the newly established country played their own superleague.[2] As a result, qualification for and competition in the European Handball Federation (EHF) became possible. In their first season, RK Gorenje Velenje performed below expectations and finished 5th.[2]

After the main part of the competition in the 1993–94 season, Gorenje finished in third position. In the play-offs they won against RK Prevent and then Drava Ptuj in the finals;RK Celje was a better opponent twice, however final 2nd place meant competition in the EHF.[2]

In just their first year in EHF competition, they qualified to semi finals in the EHF Cup.[2]


The 2002–03 season was historic in many ways for Gorenje. The club was at the top of the Slovenian handball competitions all these years and had some respectable achievements in Europe, but the team from Velenje never made it quite to the top in either competition. But in the Slovenian cup finals, RK Gorenje Velenje won against Prule 67 and claimed their first title in Slovenia since its independence in 1991.[2]

This success was a turning point for the club, because it had finally secured its position in Slovenia and in Europe. The President of RK Gorenje, Franc Plaskan retired, and was replaced by Janez Živko.[2]


2003–04 was yet another successful season for Gorenje. Top performance and great play-offs in the EHF Cup Winners' Cup, where they won twice with minimum advantage, didn't disappoint the ambitious club or its supporters. Despite losses in the national championship, they reached the semi-finals in the Cup Winners' Cup. Their first match resulted in a narrow loss to Valladolid. However, in the Slovenian playoffs of the 1. A league Slovenian First League of Handball, they made it to the finals with injuries and a downsized team. During this match, they were finally defeated by Celje


Gorenje was paying the tax on injuries, which was a side effect of premier season in the Champions League. After some lost matches, they entered the playoffs in third position. But they had no match in playoffs and went straight to the finals. This was a historic finals again. The match against RK Celje ended only after four add-ons and shooting 7m throws. Celje won by 51–48. In the second match they were simply better.

In the Champions League, Velenje experienced a new level of the game. A poor start[3] eliminated them from the 1/8 finals so they continued their season in the Cup Winners' Cup where they reached quarter-finals finals and narrowly lost[4] to Izvidač Ljubovski.


The 2005–06 season[5] was successful but disappointing in equal measures. By qualifying to the 1/8 finals in Champions League, Gorenje achieved an historic point. In a match[6] with Montpellier, they came close to the quarter-finals, but lost.

In a home championship they made simply too many mistakes and fell foul of the new play-off ranking system. They were second after the regular part of the season and in playoffs they were first but at the end 3rd, the blame went to defeat against RK Trimo Trebnje, RK Koper and RK Gold Club. After two years in the Champions League they returned to the EHF Cup Winners' Cup.


Between 2006 and 2009 some major changes were made at RK Gorenje Velenje. In 2007, Gorenje hired a new promising coach, Ivica Obrvan, with a 4-year contract and mission to bring home the first championship title before club's forthcoming 50th anniversary. That year they finished second.[7] In the following season, they slipped to third place, with RK Koper in second and RK Celje PL claiming the title again.[7] However, the season that will go down to history was 2008–09, on club's 50th anniversary, when Gorenje won their first title in independent Slovenia. They joined the exclusive club of just three handball clubs that managed this in a brief history since 1991 to 2009. In addition, Gorenje reached the finals in the EHF Cup, where they lost to Gumbersbach.


In the 2009–10 season, Gorenje finished in second place in the Slovenian First League of Handball,[8] just one point behind winning RK Celje on first place, with RK Koper in third (5 points behind). The team from Velenje also participated for the 4th time in the EHF Champions league during the season. After qualifying to the European top 16, they were defeated by Spanish Ciudad Real.[9]


After a supreme display of the game throughout the regular part of the Slovenian First League of Handball (19 victories in a row), Gorenje was leading by five points with just 10 rounds to go. However, things went downhill from there and the team's season rivals, RK Koper, caught up and win the title.

Through the season, Gorenje and Koper played three matches. Gorenje won the first match (27–24) and Koper won the other two (28–25 and 26–21). That meant that Gorenje had to win the fourth and final match with a minimum of five goals difference in order to win the championship. The last match of the season was then played in Velenje, where Koper won 23–34.

The team also competed in the EHF Cup as well where Frisch Auf Göppingen knocked them out in the quarter-finals. The German team won the first match 33–20, even though Gorenje won the second match with 26–22.


Current squad[edit]

Squad for the 2017–18 season[10]

Club supporters[edit]

Club supporters are called Šaleški graščaki. A fan club was formed in 1994. Their biggest rivals are Florijani, supporters of RK Celje.


The club's primary sponsor is house appliances manufacturer, Gorenje, which is also based in Velenje.


RK Gorenje's home matches are played at the Red Hall, which has a capacity for 2,500 spectators, approximately 2,000 of whom can be seated. Originally built in 1974, the venue was refurbished in 1989, 1994, and again in 2004 for European handball championships.[11]

Club honours[edit]


Winners (3): 2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13
Runners-up (11): 1993–94, 1995–96, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Third place (5): 1994–95, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2005–06, 2007–08
Winners (1): 2002–03
Runners-up (8): 1993–94, 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2000–01, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15
Winners (3): 2009, 2011, 2012
Runners-up (2): 2007, 2015

The Slovenian Supercup is a competition organized under the Handball Federation of Slovenia, inaugurated during the 2006–07 season. Gorenje Velenje won the competition three times, in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Yugoslavian Handball Federation[edit]

Under the Yugoslavian Handball Federation there were many levels of competition in handball, including the First and Second Yugoslavian Leagues, the Interrepublic and Republic Leagues and regional competitions.

Regional, republic and interrepublic league[edit]

1988–89 I. Republic League, 1st place
1984–85 I. Republic League, 1st place
1983–84 Interrepublic league, 3rd place
1980–81 I. Republic League, 1st place
1972–73 I. Republic League, 1st place
1968–69 II. Republic League (Styria division), 1st place
1964–65 Regional league – Celje, 1st place

II. Yugoslavian handball league[edit]

1990–91, 3rd place


The club's greatest league competitors are Prevent (now defunct), Celje and Koper.


As the first and only handball club in Slovenia, RK Gorenje produces a TV Show RKG Pressing[12] and a magazine called 9ka.[13]


  1. ^ "Zgodovina" [History] (in Slovenian). RK Gorenje Velenje official website. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Gavrilovski, Mitja (2002), 50 let rokometa v Šaleški dolini (monograph, language materials, printed) (in Slovenian) (Velenje : Rokometni klub Gorenje Velenje, 2002 ed.), Velenje: Bizjak, 120554240 
  3. ^ EHF Champions League 2004/05 – 2. Ehfcl.com.
  4. ^ EHF Champions League 2004/05 – RK+Gorenje+Velenje. Ehfcl.com.
  5. ^ EHF Champions League 2005/06 – RK+Gorenje+Velenje. Ehfcl.com.
  6. ^ EHF Champions League 2005/06 – Montpellier+HB+-+RK+Gorenje+Velenje. Ehfcl.com.
  7. ^ a b http://infostatx.rokometna-zveza.si/scripts/RZS/bilten.asp
  8. ^ http://www.rk-gorenje.com/si/klub/119
  9. ^ "European Handball Federation - RK Gorenje Velenje". www.eurohandball.com. 
  10. ^ "Članska ekipa" [Senior team] (in Slovenian). RK Gorenje Velenje. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  11. ^ "Rdeča dvorana". www.srz-rdeca-dvorana.si. 
  12. ^ [1] Archived 16 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ [2] Archived 17 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]