The first face-offs of the new Champions Hockey League season will be on 31 August, with 24 teams from 11 leagues prepared to give it their all to win the European Trophy. Two opening games start in parallel when Czech powerhouses Dynamo Pardubice return to the European stage after six seasons of absence by welcoming Finnish side Ilves Tampere to Czechia, while the Lahti Pelicans face Swedish champions the Växjö Lakers at home (both 17:30 CEST). Reigning CHL Champions Tappara Tampere start their title defence in the new CHL season later that night (19:00 CEST) when they face Danish champions Aalborg Pirates on the road. HC Innsbruck, the only new team this year, conclude Thursday’s game night late at 20:20 CEST with a home game against Swiss champions Genève-Servette.
Four more games wrap up Game Day 1 on Friday, with two games in Czechia (Oceláři Třinec vs Rapperswil-Jona Lakers and Vítkovice Ridera vs Red Bull Munich) and one game each in Sweden and Finland respectively (Skellefteå AIK vs Red Bull Salzburg and Lukko Rauma vs Belfast Giants).
New Format lifts CHL to next LevelThe 2023/24 Champions Hockey League will start with a new format featuring 24 teams. Each team will play six opponents, three home and three away, in the Regular Season. Teams are ranked in overall standings from 1 to 24 with the best 16 advancing to the Playoffs where their opponents will automatically be assigned to them based on their position in the standings (1st vs 16th, 2nd vs 15th, etc.).
With 16 teams in the Playoffs, four rounds are required to determine the new European Club Champions. The Playoffs start on 14 November with the first three rounds being two-game, home-and-away, aggregate-scoring series, before the season culminates with the ultimate one-game Final on
20 February 2024.
“The new format lifts the Champions Hockey League to the next level,” said CHL CEO Martin Baumann, “with the new overall standings, each and every game counts up until Game Day 6. Teams are competing to either grab a place for the Playoffs or to get a better position for the knock-out bracket. Additionally, facing six different opponents instead of just three provide the fans the opportunity to see even more high-class teams from all around Europe which is exciting and will help grow the European ice hockey family.”
New On-Ice Rules promise excitementWith the aim of developing the sport of ice hockey and its future, as well as increasing the overall excitement for fans, the CHL will further draw attention to the upcoming season with a novelty: Europe’s elite club ice hockey competition will introduce three on-ice rule innovations as a first mover.
The following three innovative rule changes will apply to CHL games, which will change the game, add an extra layer of excitement, but not undermine credibility.
- Minor penalties dealt the same as major: A team which caused a minor penalty will remain shorthanded even if the opposing team score a goal.
- Serving delayed penalties: A minor penalty will be served even if a goal is scored while a delayed penalty is pending.
- Shorthander erases current minor penalty: If a shorthanded team score, the minor penalty against will end.
“We’ve come up with three simple, but efficient changes that have high potential to add extra excitement to the game,” said CHL CEO Martin Baumann. Since the CHL is a pan-European competition which teams play in addition to their national leagues, it was important to create rules which can be implemented without significant effort regarding training and education of game officials, teams and other relevant parties.
“All three changes are non-intrusive and very easy for everyone to understand. They have the right balance of innovation, excitement and credibility”, commented Baumann. “The CHL wants to be a first mover. I’m very satisfied with the outcome and look forward to seeing how the new on-ice rules change the game.”
CHL Predictor launchedTwo weeks ago, the CHL launched its official prediction game, the “CHL Predictor”. The game is designed to find out which club, which country and which group has the best predictors. Fans can now pick the winners and guess the results of each game to put their predictions to the test.
Fans, clubs, groups and countries will compete against one another in separate rankings and special features include the possibility for fans to be able to check their performance in various statistics and head-to-head comparisons. The CHL Predictor is the most comprehensive prediction game in European club ice hockey and will take fan engagement to the next level.
BroadcastingInfront, the exclusive media and marketing partner of the Champions Hockey League, has sold media rights for the competition to 17 broadcasters and digital platforms worldwide, covering a total of 33 territories. New broadcast agreements for the 2023/24 season onwards cover all the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark) and the UK with Viaplay, as well as Germany with Sportdeutschland.tv and “More than Sports” (Free TV).
Continuing broadcasters include MySports for Switzerland, ORF for Austria, Sport 1/2 (AMC) for Czechia, Slovakia & Hungary as well as TSN for Canada and the NHL Network for the USA and its territories (Quarter-Finals onwards). Furthermore, fans can watch livestreams of games free of charge on the CHL website & app (if not geo-blocked due to TV rights).
For a full list of broadcasters that will carry the CHL in 2023/24, please click here.
SponsorshipOn the sponsorship side, Infront has secured partnerships with a number of strong international brands for the upcoming 2023/24 season. The line-up is led by engelbert strauss as the CHL’s Official Presenting Sponsor. In addition, Official Sponsor ŠKODA will benefit from a comprehensive rights package, receiving global television coverage alongside diverse activation and promotional opportunities.
The commercial partnerships are completed by four Official Partners: AJ Produkter, GT Radial, LGT Bank and Warrior Sports. Regional packages for various betting providers apply for win2day (Austria & Italy) and Tipsport (Czech Republic & Slovakia). Additionally, Swiss sports betting platform Sporttip will continue their purely digital agreement with the CHL for the upcoming season and benefit from various geo-targeted activations across the CHL’s platforms.
About the Champions Hockey League
The league is fully owned and operated by Champions Hockey League AG/Ltd which includes, as its shareholders, 26 European clubs, six National Leagues and the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Shareholder Leagues are from: Austria (ICE), Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The 2023/24 season will start on 31 August 2023 with a new competition format featuring 24 teams battling in 101 games for the title of European Club Champions.
Champions Hockey League highlights and clips are available on our official YouTube channel and can be used for online media purposes free of charge by using YouTube’s embedding function. Please give credit to: Champions Hockey League.