The SHL (or Swedish Hockey League, Swedish: Svenska hockeyligan) is the highest division in the Swedish ice hockey system. The league currently consists of 14 teams. The league was founded in 1975, and while Swedish ice hockey champions have been crowned through various formats since 1922, the title, as well as the Le Mat Trophy, have been awarded to the winner of the SHL playoffs since the league's inaugural 1975–76 season.
As of 2010–11, the SHL was the world's most evenly matched professional ice hockey league. During the 2011–12 season, the SHL was the most well attended ice hockey league in Europe, averaging 6,385 spectators per game, however in 2013–14, the SHL was third best in Europe, with an attendance average of 5,978. SHL was the second most popular sports team league within Sweden, after the football league Allsvenskan , which in the 2013 season had an average attendance of 7,627.
The league was founded in 1975 as Elitserien (in English often called the Swedish Elite League or SEL), and initially featured 10 teams, though this was expanded to 12 for the 1987–88 season. The league was renamed the SHL in 2013, and in 2014, a number of format changes were announced, including an expansion to 14 teams to be finalized prior to the 2015–16 season, and a new format for promotion from and relegation to HockeyAllsvenskan, the second tier league.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Swedish Hockey League, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.