CHAMPIONS HOCKEY LEAGUE
Combining the best 32 teams from six different European leagues, the Champions Hockey League is the top ice hockey club competition on the continent. The competition was founded in 2013 and has been dominated by Scandinavian teams.
KONTINENTAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (KHL)
If there is one country that can hold the North American teams to account, it’s Russia. The KHL is second only to the NHL. Many KHL players have played in the NHL and vice-versa.
SWEDISH HOCKEY LEAGUE (SEL)
The Swedish Hockey League was founded in 1975 and enjoys one of the best attendance records for the sport. The season runs from late September to early March, with playo-ffs from March to April. Like the Stanley Cup play-offs, a best-of-seven format is used to determine the winners.
SM LIIGA FINLAND
Known as the Finnish Elite League, this is one of the best domestic competitions in the world. The top five seeds are automatically guaranteed a place in the Champions Hockey League and the rivalry with its Swedish counterpart is strong. Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Finland, by television viewers and game attendance.
In play between September and April, the Czech Extraliga was formed in 1993. The league ranks fifth in the world. It’s an evenly balanced competition, although VHK Vsetin, HC Sparta Praha and HC Pardubice are the top teams.