Champions Hockey League: Wikis

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Champions Hockey League
CHL logo.png
Sport Ice Hockey
Founded 2008
Commissioner Craig Thompson[1]
Inaugural season 2008
No. of teams 12 (group stage)
14 (total)
Country(ies) Multiple in Europe
Ceased 2009
Last champion(s) Switzerland ZSC Lions (1)
TV partner(s) Europe: various
USA: Universal Sports
CAN: The Score
Official website championshockeyleague.com
Related competitions Victoria Cup

The Champions Hockey League was a short lived ice hockey league which was launched in 2008–09 by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Its creation coincided with the IIHF's 100th anniversary and replaced the IIHF European Champions Cup, the former competition for Europe's top ice hockey teams.[2] The financial reward for progressing to the CHL Group Stage was a portion of the 16.9 million Swiss francs that was distributed between the teams with a 1,000,000 Swiss francs[3] bonus going to the winner; the largest monetary reward ever given in any European ice hockey competition.[2] The Silver Stone Trophy, which has been awarded to the top club team in European hockey since 1997, was the CHL's championship trophy. Because of problems with finding sponsors and failure to agree on a format, the Champions Hockey League was canceled after only one season had been played.

Contents

Format

Map of teams which have reached the group stage of the Champions Hockey League      Member country that has been represented in the group stage      Member country that has not been represented in the group stage      Not a member

The Champions Hockey League was planned to be contested among 24 European national club champions and the runner-ups of the best six hockey leagues. However, for the first season, a shortened version was agreed upon with a group stage with 12 teams, the champions of the best seven leagues and a second team from each of the best four leagues. The second teams from the leagues placed 5–7, played a qualification tournament over one weekend to determine the twelfth and final participant of the Champions Hockey League.

The following table based on the 2008 IIHF League Ranking[4] gives an overview over the qualifiaction process. Because of the cancellation after the first season, the lower ranked leagues never participated in the Champions Hockey League.

 Russia Kontinental Hockey League Two teams in the 2008-2009 CHL
 Finland SM-liiga
 Czech Republic Czech Extraliga
 Sweden Elitserien
 Slovakia Slovak Extraliga One team guaranteed in the 2008-2009 CHL + one possible qualifier
 Switzerland National League A
 Germany Deutsche Eishockey Liga
 Belarus Belarusian Hockey League Teams from these leagues would have participated in later season of the CHL.
 Latvia Latvian Hockey League
 Denmark Oddset Ligaen
 Austria Austrian Hockey League
 Kazakhstan Kazakhstani Championship
 Norway GET-ligaen
 France Ligue Magnus
 Slovenia Slovenian Hockey League
 Italy Serie A
 Hungary OB I bajnokság
 Poland Polska Liga Hokejowa
 Netherlands Eredivisie
 Ukraine Ukrainian Major League
 Great Britain Elite Ice Hockey League
 Romania Liga Naţională de hochei

Broadcasting

The CHL was broadcast across Europe on various national TV networks, as well as on the Internet.
It could also be watched regularly in some extra-European markets. Universal Sports (part of the NBC Universal group) was the league's broadcaster in the United States, while The Score hheld the Canadian rights. [5]

2008–09 Season

Because of the limited preparation time, the first edition was played with only 12 teams from the top seven leagues in Europe. The four top leagues (Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland) were represented with two teams each. The leagues ranked 5-7 (Slovakia, Switzerland and Germany) were represented with one team. A second team from Switzerland (SC Bern), qualified for the main stage by winning a qualifying tournament which was held in September.[6]

The main phase of the CHL consisted of 4 groups with 3 teams each that played home and away games against the two other teams in the group, with the 4 group winners advancing to the semi-finals. In the first semi-final the two Russian teams Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Salavat Yulaev Ufa played against each other. After both teams won one game, a penalty shoot-out had to decide. Magnitogorsk was luckier and advanced to the final. In the other semi-final, the Swiss ZSC Lions played against Finnish team Espoo Blues. ZSC won both games and qualified for the final.

The first game of the final was played in Magnitogorsk and ended in a 2–2 draw. The decisive second game was played in Rapperswil, Switzerland and won 5–0 by the ZSC Lions which became the first and also last Champions Hockey League winners.

Cancellation

The IIHF announced on June 15, 2009 the cancellation of the Champions Hockey League 2009–10 season, to possibly resume in 2010–11, with the possible contribution of the NHL.[7] The continuation of the league was already called into question in January when the main sponsor, Gazprom, as well as Reebok, pulled out of their commitments to sponsor the league for three seasons.[8] Conflict with the NHL also arose, whereby the European sponsors led by Gazprom were willing to fund 50-60% of the league and control, whereas the NHL offered to fund up to 60%, but wanted full control of the league's operations.

Some teams were considering legal actions against IIHF for the cancellation of the CHL, because "the clubs have blocked out game dates and CHL participation in their budget-planning consideration", as Gernot Tripcke, the general manager of the German DEL said.

On 21 October 2009, the IIHF announced an agreement with Hockey Europe to re-launch the CHL in 2010–11 with teams from the 7 top European leagues. Included in the agreement is a settlement that compensates the clubs that qualified for the cancelled 2009–10 edition.[9]

On 25 November 2009, Ovation Sports AG, the organization behind the Champions Hockey League, announced that they are discontinuing their efforts and that the league will not continue.[10]

On 9 March 2010, the IIHF finally announced that they and the European leagues failed to agree on a re-launch of the Champions Hockey League. Therefore there will definitely be no CHL in 2010–11.[11]

Victoria Cup

It was planned that every year, the Champions Hockey League winner and one team from the National Hockey League play for the IIHF-run Victoria Cup.[12] The first edition in 2008 was won by the New York Rangers who beat the IIHF European Champions Cup winners from the previous season, Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The second edition in 2009 saw the ZSC Lions defeating the Chicago Blackhawks.

References

External links

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