So far ten teams have been determined who earned qualification to the Champions Hockey League where they will join the founding clubs.
In total 40 clubs will participate in the inaugural season that starts on 21st August including up to 26 teams with A-licences, up to 12 additional teams from the six founding leagues and clubs with wild cards from other leagues.
The up to two additional teams from the six countries are determined in the following order: 1. National Champion. 2. Regular Season Winner. 3. Runner-up, Regular Season. 4. Playoff Finalist. 5. Playoff Semifinalist.
Among the newest teams is VSV Villach, which joins as semi-finalist from Austria. The other team from the Austrian EBEL is the league’s Italian entry Bolzano Foxes thanks to its second-place finish in the regular season.
The two semi-finalists Lukko Rauma and SaiPa Lappeenranta join from the Finnish Liiga. Geneve-Servette and the Kloten Flyers join from the Swiss National League A also as semi-finalists.
The two Swedish teams are known too with regular-season winner Skelleftea AIK and semi-finalist Vaxjo Lakers.
Ocelari Trincec is known as one of the two additional teams joining from the Czech Extraliga as runner-up. The second team will be determined in the playoffs where PSG Zlin and Kometa Brno are in the run.
From Germany, regular-season winner Hamburg Freezers is known as one of the two additional participants. The second will be the winner of the semi-final between Kölner Haie and Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams.
Several other leagues applied for a wild card including Denmark, France, Great Britain, Norway and Slovakia.
The Champions Hockey League will commence its inaugural season on 21 August 2014 and will play a 149-game schedule culminating with the final game on 3 February 2015. The draw for the group stage is planned on 21st May in Minsk, Belarus, where the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will be held.
The new competition is fully owned and operated by the European Ice Hockey Club Competition Ltd. (EICC) which includes as its shareholders 26 founding clubs from six national founding leagues and the International Ice Hockey Federation. The CHL Founding Leagues and its Founding Clubs:
- Austria (EBEL): Red Bull Salzburg, Vienna Capitals.
- Czech Republic (Extraliga): Bili Tygri Liberec, HC Pardubice, Sparta Prague, Vitkovice Ostrava.
- Finland (Liiga): IFK Helsinki, JYP Jyvaskyla, KalPa Kuopio, Karpat Oulu, Tappara Tampere, TPS Turku.
- Germany (DEL): Adler Mannheim, Eisbaren Berlin, ERC Ingolstadt, Krefeld Pinguine.
- Switzerland (NLA): SC Bern, Fribourg-Gotteron, ZSC Lions Zurich, EV Zug.
- Sweden (SHL): Djurgarden Stockholm, Frolunda Gothenburg, Farjestad Karlstad, HV71 Jonkoping, Linkopings HC, Lulea Hockey.
All founding clubs will participate next season with one of the conditions being that they play in the highest league of their country. Djurgarden Stockholm is currently battling in a six-team promotion/relegation competition to earn promotion to the Swedish Hockey League and thus to earn its playing right in next season’s Champions Hockey League.