New era dawns for Europe

Champions Hockey League opens in August 2014

09.12.2013
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Eisbären Berlin and Kärpät Oulu will be back in the new Champions Hockey League. Berlin will host the Red Bulls Salute 19-22 December. Photo: Stuart Franklin / Bongarts / Getty Images

ZURICH – The Champions Hockey League, Europe’s new premium club competition, will start in August 2014 and will crown the continent’s club champion in February 2015.

Apart from the reigning national champions and the regular season winners from each of the six Founding Leagues, 26 Founding Clubs representing the top historic brands and most successful teams of their respective countries in the past and today will compete for the European Trophy. After a projected 149-game Champions Hockey League schedule the winner will be hoisting the cup, named after the competition the new C.H.L. emerged from.

In a unique structure for European ice hockey, the Champions Hockey League is a joint project between Europe’s professional clubs, their national leagues and the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The three principal stakeholders have formed a shareholder company based in Switzerland, where the clubs own 63 percent of the shares, the leagues 25 percent and the IIHF 12 percent.

As part of the projected number of 40 participating clubs in the inaugural season, the Champions Hockey League will include a number of Wild Card entries, who are top clubs from other European national leagues.

Details on participation formula, schedule, playing dates, playoff format and the draw for the Group Stage will be presented at the upcoming Red Bulls Salute - European Trophy Finals at Berlin’s o2 World on December 20, 2014. All six participating teams in the Red Bulls Salute in Berlin (December 19-22) are among the 26 founding clubs.

As earlier communicated, Infront Sports & Media AG, is the marketing agency for the Champions Hockey League.

The list of the Founding Leagues and its Founding Clubs of the Champions Hockey League:

AUSTRIA (EBEL): EC Red Bull Salzburg, UPC Vienna Capitals.
CZECH REPUBLIC (Tipsport Extraliga): HC Bili Tygri Liberec, HC Pardubice, HC Sparta Prague, HC Vitkovice Ostrava.
FINLAND (Liiga): IFK Helsinki, JYP Jyväskylä, KalPa Kuopio, Kärpät Oulu, Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku.
GERMANY (DEL): Adler Mannheim, Eisbären Berlin, ERC Ingolstadt, Krefeld Pinguine.
SWITZERLAND (NLA): SC Bern, Fribourg-Gottéron, ZSC Lions Zurich, EV Zug.
SWEDEN (SHL): Djurgården Stockholm (currently playing in second-tier Allsvenskan), Frölunda Gothenburg, Färjestad Karlstad, HV71 Jönköping, Linköpings HC, Luleå Hockey.

Members from the principal stakeholders from the six countries form the Champions Hockey League board, which is the executive body of the league:

Representing the Clubs:
Anders Ternbom, SWE, chairman
Petr Briza, CZE
Timo Everi, FIN
Peter John Lee, GER
Peter Zahner, SUI
Rupert Zamorsky, AUT

The Leagues:
Christian Feichtinger, AUT
Gernot Tripcke, GER

The IIHF:
Kalervo Kummola, FIN

“The commitment and enthusiasm we have received from the shareholders indicates very clearly that a pan-European hockey league is something that all involved parties wanted,” said chairman Anders Ternbom. “We are extremely pleased, that after working on this for the last seventeen months, we can today announce the Champions Hockey League which will carry over the legacy from the European Trophy to a best-on-best league which will crown the legitimate club champion of Europe.”

“I’m happy about what we’ve achieved now. Without the European Trophy there would be no Champions Hockey League” German club representative Peter John Lee says. “We will have the names of all four recent European Trophy winners engraved in the Trophy, this shows how important our work since 2010 was.”

“This is a big step for European club ice hockey and the leagues,” said CHL board member Gernot Tripcke, also General Manager of the German DEL. “We are confident that with the unity we have around the Champions Hockey League, this will mean as much for the prestige for the national leagues and their clubs as corresponding leagues do for other sports like football, basketball and handball.”

“When we for the first time gathered all stakeholders for the Hockey Forum in Barcelona in June 2012, we had hopes that this would be a start for something new and great,” said IIHF Vice-President Kale Kummola. “But I think that few of us there really thought that one and a half years later we would be able to proudly, together, announce that we have a fundament for a new European league. This is a big day for hockey in Europe.”  


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