The Champions Hockey League is a European ice hockey tournament. Launched in the 2014–15 season by 26 clubs, 6 leagues and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the tournament features top teams from the first-tier leagues of countries across Europe.
The IIHF launched a tournament with the same name in 2008 to coincide with the IIHF's 100th anniversary. The tournament's only season was played between 8 October 2008 and 28 January 2009, and was won by the ZSC Lions who got to play in the 2009 Victoria Cup game as a result. The IIHF planned to launch another season but was ultimately forced to cancel the tournament due to problems finding sponsors during the concurrent global economic crisis and failure to agree on a tournament format. On 9 December 2013, the IIHF officially announced that they had launched a new tournament with the same name, born out of the European Trophy, starting in the 2014–15 season.
For the 2015–16 season, the tournament has been expanded to 48 teams, divided into 16 groups with three teams in each group. The two first teams in each group advanced to the playoff round of 32. The 48 teams consisted of the 26 founding A-licence clubs, 12 B-licensed clubs from the founding leagues, and 10 C-licensed "Wild card" teams from other leagues. In total, 157 games were played. Frölunda HC won their first Champions League title by beating Oulun Kärpät in the final.
The 2016–17 season was once more played with 48 teams, using the same format as in the previous season. The season started on 16 August 2016 and ended with the final game on 7 February 2017 with Frölunda defeating Sparta Prague, 4–3 in overtime.
Starting with the fourth CHL season, the championship will be reduced to 32 teams, and qualification will be on sporting merits only. The six founding leagues will be represented by between three and five teams (based on a three-year league ranking), while eight teams from the "challenge leagues" will be represented by one team each. No founding team will automatically be qualified.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Champions Hockey League
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