The future of the Champions Hockey League
I am aware that there is a thread about the CHL, however this is about dealing with a quite separate topic than discussing what is going on; developing the CHL.
Is the CHL needed and how?
I see a couple of aims which the CHL could benefit from reaching. Aims I think should be focused on issues like the following.
- Providing better competitive opportunities for clubs on the continent.
- Inspire youth interest in hockey and thus this healthy activity.
- Develope a sport which really has centuries old roots in Europe.
Personally, I do not think that for example the KHL is the best way to go for European icehockey, that is to do away with promotion/relegation and basicly build teams on imports.
But at the same time the CHL as it was last year, I believe is not good enough when it comes to filling the needs which I bet many of us would like to envisage it doing. So I will share some ideas and hopefully we can get an interesting discussion going.
I propose that the CHL groups are enlarged, to for example eight teams per group, that way there would be 14 group matches for the teams, low enough to keep the individual matches important, and many enough to let it have a larger overall impact on the season of participating clubs. Having four groups would result in 16 clubs out of 32 reaching the knockout stage, I think this is doable to participate in side by side with the national competitions, whose importance in itself should not be any lesser.
Qualification could work like now by having a federation ranking based on earlier performance in the competition. With four groups A-D a 8 teams the ranking and qualification could be structured as follows.
Ranking ----------- # of teams (group stage + qualification)
1. (3 + 1)
2. (3 + 1)
3. (3 + 1)
4. (2 + 1)
5. (2 + 1)
6. (2 + 1)
7. (2 + 1)
8. (1 + 1)
9. (1 + 1)
10. (1 + 1)
11. (1 + 1)
12. (0 + 2 or 1 + 1 depending on title holder, which earns automatic qualification)
13. (0 + 2)
14. (0 + 2)
15. (0 + 2)
16. (0 + 2)
17+. (0 + 1)
Each row represents a federation and their competition, for example the KHL will naturally include its non-Russian clubs. Albeit in return it will likely not be good for their respective national federations, for example the Latvian, for their best club to not be able to improve their own ranking.
Draws could be seeded in say five groups (3*8 + 2*4). Drawn into four groups A, B, C and D, with the rule that two clubs from the same nation are not to face each other in the group stage.
Further, I do not know how the CHL is now (or next season), but Id also support a rule for a minimum number of players trained at the club, and yet a bigger minimum requirement from ones own nation.
Maybe there are not enough good clubs to keep such a format competitive, what do you think? After all there are only that many players in a nation to go about that can perform at such a level, and icehockey is not the only sport where I think the elite level competitions in country can be negatively affected by having too many participating clubs, with respect to how many good players the nation has, at such times it is often better to have less teams but more matches to suit the nations needs. But then this is about the whole continent.
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